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Erdogan: Turkey pins great attention to boosting economic ties with Kuwait
May 8, 2017, 11:40 am
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during an exclusive interview with KUNA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that his country attaches great importance to the development of its economic and trade relations with Kuwait, one of the most stable, secure and prosperous countries in the region.

Erdogan said in an exclusive interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) ahead of his official visit to Kuwait on Tuesday that Turkey and Kuwait share common interests and relations between them are rapidly developing cmmpared to political relations. He said that his presence at the ceremony of launching the new Kuwait International Airport project, which will be completed by one of the first Turkish companies, Limak Holding Company, is a great honor for him in terms of emphasizing the advanced level reached by Turkish companies worldwide.

The Turkish President expressed his hope for greater participation of the Turkish companies in the completion of the infrastructure projects that Kuwait aspires to achieve as part of its development plan for 2035.

He expressed his thanks and gratitude to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Kuwaiti government for the tremendous support to Turkish companies. He pointed out that the two countries have great potential to develop their relations in investment, trade, defense industries, tourism and other fields.

He expressed his hope for an increase of mutual investment, expressing readiness of his country to exchange its experiences with Kuwait in the field of defense industries.

In this regard, Erdogan said that the meeting of the Joint Committee on Cooperation to be held at the level of heads of government in the coming months will address these issues in detail, stressing the need to hold meetings of the Joint Economic Committee and the Business Forum every now and then in order to improve the economic and trade relations between the two countries to the required level.

He pointed out that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries in the first quarter of this year reached US$152 million, recording an increase of 17 percent compared to the same period of 2016.

He added that the volume of trade exchange between Ankara and Kuwait amounted to US$1.287 billion last year, as the volume of Turkish exports to Kuwait reached US$ 431 million while the value of imports reached US$ 856 million, saying he looks forward for more efforts to increase bilateral trade while taking into account the potential of the two countries.

Erdogan expressed his happiness for the influx of Kuwaiti tourists to Turkey, noting that his country hosted about 180,000 Kuwaiti visitors last year and 30,000 in the first quarter of 2017.

The Turkish president said that the agreement on cooperation in the field of tourism signed by the two countries during the visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to Ankara last March would give a new impetus to this area. He pointed out that the State of Kuwait ranked first in the field of real estate investment in the Gulf countries, as Kuwaitis own more than 6,000 properties in Turkey so far, expressing his belief that investment in this sector will see more increase in the coming period.

As for the volume of direct investment that Kuwait has been making since 2002 in Turkey, which has become an investment attraction, Erdogan said that it amounted to about US$ 1.7 billion, as well as the activity of 280 Kuwaiti companies in Turkey now.

The Turkish president confirmed that his country was able to bring foreign direct investment worth US$ 176.6 billion between 2003 to 2016, thanks to the favorable investment climate of which US$ 12.3 billion achieved last year, calling on Kuwaitis to increase investment in Turkey.

In contrast, Erdogan pointed to the presence of seven Turkish companies with Turkish capital operating in Kuwait, pointing out that the Turkish construction companies have achieved in Kuwait through 30 projects huge achievements totaling about US$ 6.5 billion.

He expressed his belief that the Turkish companies will contribute to the development of Kuwait even further in the coming periods, while meeting the confidence entrusted to, stressing the interest of Turkish businessmen in the Gulf region in general and Kuwait in particular.

On his country's relations with the Gulf countries, the Turkish president stressed that one of the priorities of Turkish foreign policy is to strengthen and deepen its relations with the member states of the GCC in all economic, trade, tourism, military and defense industries in line with the excellent political relations between the two parties, en bilateral or multilateral events.

He pointed out that the relations between Ankara and the Gulf countries are based on a cohesive platform, thanks to the cooperation mechanisms established with the governments of the countries at the bilateral level, thus, prompting the development of new cooperation projects, expressing hope for establishing such mechanisms with all Gulf countries and diversifying relations with them.

In this context, Erdogan pointed to the existence of a high-level strategic dialogue mechanism between Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council, saying "we are establishing the ground of our relations with the GCC countries in an integrated manner".

The Turkish president said that a decision was taken to resume negotiations between Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on the free trade agreement at the last meeting held in Riyadh on October 13, expressing the hope that the outcome of these negotiations will be positive for both Turkey and the Gulf countries.

Source: KUNA

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