By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkish and Kyrgyz business people should improve bilateral relations and turn opportunities into projects, the Turkish vice president said on Thursday.
The two countries should remove all obstacles and make new cooperations for the bilateral trade target of $1 billion, Fuat Oktay noted during the Turkey-Kyrgyzstan Business Forum in Istanbul.
The forum was organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM).
The bilateral trade was $424 million in 2018 and $326 million in the first nine months of this year, he reminded.
Oktay said these figures are far from the trade potential of the two countries.
While Turkey's investments in Kyrgyzstan — including in the third countries — reached $1 billion, Kyrgyz investments are too low in Turkey, the vice president stressed.
"The two countries' businesspeople have a key role for improving trade and economic relations," Oktay underlined.
Just in the mining sector, countries have business opportunities worth billions of U.S. dollars, he noted.
While the world growth expectations fall, Turkey remains to be a safe port for foreign investors, added Oktay.
"We have an extensive incentive system and we invite Kyrgyz investors to benefit from these incentives by making more investments," he said.
He also said the Joint Economic Cooperation protocol, which will be signed on Friday between the two countries, will remove obstacles and create new cooperation areas.
Touching on economic relations between Turkic Republics, he noted the realization of the $1.1 trillion trade potential will benefit prosperity, peace, and development both in the region and the world.
– Kyrgyzstan gives highest priority to Turkey
Kubatbek Boronov, the Kyrgyz deputy prime minister, stressed that Turkey is not only a trade partner for Kyrgyzstan but also a brother and strategic partner.
"Kyrgyz-Turkish trade relations are improving rapidly, Kyrgyzstan gives the highest priority to Turkey," he said.
There are no obstacles to cooperation between the two countries, he underlined.
Boronov highlighted that Kyrgyzstan, located in the middle of central Asia, is a significant transportation hub.
Kyrgyzstan offers incentives and tax discounts for foreign investors, he reminded.
– Turkish firms expect privilege in Kyrgyz projects
Rifat Hisarciklioglu, the president of the TOBB, expressed that two countries' businesspeople demand only the removal of obstacles.
Turkey, which is the production leader in its region, aims to share its experience with Kyrgyzstan.
Nail Olpak, the chair of DEIK, said while Kyrgyzstan's imports from the world have been rising in the recent period, its imports from Turkey have dropped.
He added that Turkish companies expect privilege in Kyrgyz infrastructure projects.
Ismail Gulle, the head of TIM, stressed Turkey's exports to Kyrgyzstan reached over $300 million this year.
"We are ready to improve trade relations with our Kyrgyz brothers and cooperate on a win-win principle," he added.
As part of the business forum, several agreements were signed between companies and institutions of the two countries.