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NEWS UPDATES 23 January 2010

Turkey seeking FTA with Malaysia, other Asean members

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Turkey hopes to initiate Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with Malaysia by April this year after exploratory talks between the two countries recently, reported Bernama, Malaysia’s news agency.

"Hopefully by April, we will launch the FTA negotiations," Director-General of European Union Affairs at the Undersecretariat of Prime Ministry for Foreign Trade of Turkey Husnu Dilemre told Bernama in an interview.

Dilemre had led a Turkish delegation to Malaysia for the exploratory talks on a possible FTA between the two countries which he said would enhance bilateral relations and trade.

"Both countries will commit a feasibility study. We will conduct ours and come back together to see what we have achieved and then the Malaysian side would take this to the Cabinet. We will wait for that," he said.

Malaysia's major export products are palm oil, electronic circuits, textile, yarn, rubber and rubber accessories while Turkey mainly exports iron and steel products, tobacco, boroxides, carpet and floor rugs, wheat flour and transformers.

Dilemre also pointed out that there were sectors in Malaysia which "have competition problems. "But if you look at Turkey, they (the sectors) complement each other, we believe in that and studies had shown this," he said.

Apart from Malaysia, he said that Turkey was also keen to have FTA talks with other Asean countries like Singapore and Indonesia, and India but had yet to initiate any kind of exploratory talks.

"We are going to start with Malaysia first and other Asean countries could take this as an example and be attracted to it," he said, adding that Turkey is set to launch FTA talks with South Korea after a couple of initial talks.

Turkey is the gateway to Europe, Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Caucasia.

It is the world's 15th largest economy, with a population of 72 million and a gross domestic product of US$742 billion.

Among the countries that had sealed FTAs with Turkey are Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Egypt, Albania, Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia and Chile.

There are also ongoing FTA negotiations between Turkey and countries like Lebanon, Gulf Cooperation Council, Ukraine, Libya, Faroe Islands, Mauritius and Seychelles.

Dilemre said a 30-member Turkish business delegation, with the support of the Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade, would be visiting Malaysia between Sunday and Jan 26.

"Turkish businessmen from the food sector will discuss business opportunities with their Malaysian counterparts especially in wheat flour, confectionery, glucose, pulses, fresh fruits and vegetables," he added.


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