World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey has started to work on a deal with Iran to ease business between the two nations with the ultimate goal of having a full free-trade agreement, Turkey's Development Minister has said.
Speaking at a business forum in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday, Cevdet Yilmaz said: “The two countries complement each other. Turkey is the gateway for Iran to the west and Iran is to the east for Turkey.
"If the two nations cooperate more, it has the potential to affect the entire region. We can use this potential more accurately by not only increasing trade between two nations, but also by increasing mutual investments - especially in the fields of tourism and services.”
He said bilateral trade last year was about US$15 billion - down from US$22 billion in 2012.
“This was due to the unfair embargos and sanctions against Iran. Rouhani's government will solve these problems with international initiatives. I want to emphasize that Turkey was with Iran in the difficult times, and it will be with Iran in the easy times,” he said.
Minister added that a preferential trade agreement between the two, signed in January, would take trade between the two nations into a new era.
He said: "We will implement the agreement as soon as possible, after approval by both countries.
“We have already started to work on an agreement to reduce bureaucracy and non-tariff barriers, but our ultimate goal is to have a free-trade agreement between Iran and Turkey."
More than 100 Turkish businessmen came together with their Iranian counterparts at the Tehran forum to develop more business opportunities.
According to the TurkStat (Turkish Statistics Institute), Turkish exports to Iran in 2013 were worth US$4.2 billion and imports from Iran were valued at US$10.4 billion.
Turkey exports to Iran gold, gold-plated silver, iron and steel, textile yarn, fabrics, land transportation vehicles, electrical machinery and apparatus and appliances.
Iran's exports to Turkey coal and raw petroleum materials, natural gas, plastics, metals other than iron, and organic chemicals.Last Mod: 16 Nisan 2014, 16:57