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Turkey and China Wednesday announced a goal to boost bilateral trade from the current USD$24 billion to $100 billion over the next eight years as senior government officials from two of the world’s fastest growing economies met in İstanbul to discuss measures to facilitate trade, according to Today’s Zaman.

One of the largest buyers of Chinese products, Turkey has long complained about an imbalance in bilateral trade, seeking ways to attract as much foreign direct investment (FDI) from the Asian country as possible. Turkish ministers did not hesitate to use Wednesday’s Turkey-China Business Forum, which brought 200 Chinese businessmen together with their Turkish counterparts, as an opportunity to reiterate calls for increased efforts to minimise a widening trade deficit with China.

Pressure on China to this end is on the rise as Turkey is not the only country complaining about Chinese products swamping their markets. Chinese firms were accompanying China’s leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping, who arrived on Tuesday in Ankara to meet President Abdullah Gül as part of a two-day visit.

Delivering a speech at Wednesday’s meeting Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said the government was not happy with the current trade imbalance with China, adding new Chinese investments in Turkey would help remedy the situation.

Çağlayan announced that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan planned a visit to Beijing in April and he said this visit could be an opportunity to cement trade ties for the future.

Turkish and Chinese businesses signed deals worth $1.38 billion in 28 separate deals during Wednesday’s forum.

Çağlayan said $500 million of the deals would concern Turkish exports to China, $570 million financial support of Chinese firms to Turkey and $308.5 million in a package of contractor and energy investments. Wednesday’s meeting was followed by a series of accords signed between the two countries Tuesday in Ankara. Among them were a three-year currency swap deal between the central banks of Turkey and China, enabling the use of local currency in bilateral trade.

Speaking at the forum, Xi said the two countries, which are located at opposite ends of the Asian continent, could use their high-growth potential to boost cooperation within the region. “Our economies are not competing, but they are complementary each other. … We should see this potential and work accordingly for joint projects on both sides as well as in third countries,” Xi explained.

Over the past decade, Chinese companies have signed projects deal worth $10 billion.

Full story at Today’s Zaman

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