Turkey's State Minister Kursad Tuzmen said on Sunday "Turkey is proposing the establishment of a joint industrial zone at the Turkish-Iraqi border."
Speaking at the inauguration of Turkish-Iraqi Business Forum at Baghdad's Al Mansour Hotel, Tuzmen said that "the current visit of the Turkish delegation takes place with a limited number of businessmen. Next time we come to Baghdad, we will come with a delegation of 400-500 businessmen as we did prior to 2003. I notice that things are getting better in Iraq. We wish that Iraq goes over the crisis by preserving its territorial integrity and sovereignty."
"I believe that we can create a joint economic zone at Turkish-Iraqi border. Such a zone would be a good role model to other countries. I want to remind that the foundation of the European Union (EU) was laid down at a time when Europe was going through an economic crisis," Tuzmen said.
"Despite negative conditions, the trade volume between Turkey and Iraq would be 20 billion USD by the year 2010," Tuzmen noted.
"We are making plans for free movement of goods and services between Turkey and Iraq. Within this framework, we may be able to sign a free trade agreement with Iraq," Tuzmen stressed.
Reminding that Turkey's total trade volume has reached 325 billion USD, Tuzmen said that the infrastructure of transportation, logistics and railways must be improved for further trade with Iraq.
"We believe that the establishment of a joint industrial zone at Turkish-Iraqi border will facilitate investments especially in the energy sector. We may be able to erect refineries and power plants at the border that will meet some of Iraq's need for electricity and oil products," Tuzmen said.
"We are making preparations to establish a Turkish industrial zone in Basra region. After Turkey opens a consulate general in Basra, a foreign trade delegation from Turkey will visit Basra region to explore business opportunities," Tuzmen said.
In a speech delivered at the beginning of Turkish-Iraqi Business Forum, Iraq's Minister of Trade Abd al-Falah al-Sudani said that "Iraq wishes to increase its trade volume with Turkey. We believe that we can increase Turkish-Iraqi trade volume to seven billion USD from three billion USD reached in 2007."
"We will help Turkish businessmen for their investments in Iraq. We view Turkey as a strategic country," al-Sudani said.
The forum was attended by 22 Turkish businessmen who came from Turkey with Tuzmen and those Turks working for Turkish companies in Iraq.
Turks became the first group of people who held a major meeting out of the Green Zone in Baghdad. The Green Zone (The International Zone) is the heavily guarded diplomatic/government area of closed-off streets in central Baghdad where U.S. occupation authorities live and work.
Last Mod: 29 Haziran 2008, 16:28