Posted by meb at February 16th, 2008

Finance Minister Kemal Unakıtan encouraged businessmen from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to take part in Turkey’s ongoing privatization efforts yesterday.

At a press conference with UAE Economy Minister Sheikha Lubna Bint Khaled Al Qasimi at the signing ceremony for the protocol of the seventh Joint Economic Commission meeting between Turkey and the UAE in Ankara, Unakıtan urged UAE businessmen to take part in the sale of Turkey’s electricity distribution companies, electricity generation facilities, sugar refineries and highways and bridges as well as the sales of Halkbank and Galatport. He also invited them to pay more attention to Turkey’s capital markets, real estate, irrigation projects and tourism and health sectors.

Unakıtan recalled that the amount of UAE investment in Turkey has so far exceeded $4 billion since the decision to pursue further development in the countries’ mutual relations. He cited the Dubai Port administration’s purchase of land in Yarımca and Sama Dubai’s record land deal with the Ä°stanbul Metropolitan Municipality last year as two recent and bright examples of increasing cooperation.

In the last four years commercial relations between the two countries have soared and the trade volume has quadrupled from $900 million to $3.7 billion. The target is to carry the trade volume to $10 billion in the middle run, Unakıtan said. To achieve this aim, Turkey must sign the Free Trade Agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) soon, he added. “On this issue, we are expecting to see the UAE’s support,” he explained, recalling that Turkey has already gotten the backing of Saudi Arabia and Qatar for joining the GCC as a trade partner. Al Quasimi focused on the historical and cultural relations between the two nations and added that Turkey’s entrance to the GCC would boost mutual relations as well as trade.

A number of prominent UAE businessmen accompanied the UAE minister. Among them were the CEOs of Dubai Holding, Al-Dar National Real Estate, the Abu Dhabi Fund, Emirates Foodstuffs and Mineral Water, and the Jabal Ali Free Zone. These companies will have meetings with their Turkish counterparts to try to find business opportunities.

source: Today’s Zaman