Russian, Turkish firms vow to boost trade ties
The Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) and the Russian Federation's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RF CCI) on Monday signed a deal to pursue partnership opportunities to boost bilateral trade to $100 billion within five years, a goal set this January by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The signing ceremony was held at RF CCI headquarters in Moscow between the group's head Yevgeny Primakov and TUSKON head Riza Nur Meral. The main goal of the deal is to increase cooperation in commercial relations by facilitating business meetings, mutual visits, and special gatherings to explore business opportunities between businessmen from both countries. Speaking at the ceremony, Primakov praised recent trends in Russian-Turkish trade ties, saying: "We had been worried following a decline in trade in 2009 due to the global financial crisis, but the 2010 figures were promising. There has also been a sharp increase in the number of tourists from Russia visiting Turkey. In addition, total investments by Turkish companies in Russia have already surpassed $6 billion. More and more Turkish industrialists are setting up investments across Russia, and they are paying large amounts of value-added tax [VAT]. We look on all this favorably." Also speaking at the ceremony, Meral shared his intentions and enthusiasm for the deal, which he said would greatly benefit both the Russian Federation and Turkey while also improving bilateral ties. "We're putting a lot of effort into energizing relations and have already started seeing results," he said. "Trade rose 43.7 percent year-on-year in the first seven months." Stressing the significance of economic cooperation in the Black Sea basin, Meral said it is the second-fastest growing region after Asia-Pacific. He also asked for support from the RF CCI in organizing the commerce section of a Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council (BSECC) meeting next month under TUSKON auspices.