`Malaysia-Turkey trade can hit US$5b' [Business Times (Malaysia)]
(Business Times (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral trade between Malaysia and Turkey can increase to US$5 billion (RM16 billion) in three years from the current US$1 billion.
Turkey Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said US$5 billion within the short term is not an ambitious target based on the potential of both countries.
"With the raw materials potential of Malaysia and our strength in technology, food, textiles, chemicals and transport, we can both handle the target successfully," he said after attending the Malaysia-Turkey Business Forum, here, yesterday.
Zeybekci is accompanying Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a three-day working visit to Malaysia.
Despite several unsuccessful attempts, both countries are confident that the a free trade agreement will be inked in Ankara in April, if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak accepts Erdogan's invitation.
Negotiations have been going on since mid-2010 but Zeybekci voiced confidence that many of the contentious points can be overcome at the final round from January 13 to 15.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said with both being diversified economies, many areas were found to be either under-exploited or untapped.
The free trade pact is expected to provide opportunities for both countries to scale up businesses.
"The FTA will reduce tariffs which are an important measure that will improve market access both ways and balance trade," Mustapa said.
Malaysia provides its strength in the electrical and electronics sector, while Turkey is strong in agriculture, textiles and metal products.
"Even in the area of imports, we can even look to replace some products from other countries to Turkey," Mustapa said, adding that Malaysia's economic growth and transformation programme will need more imports.
Turkey is home to a number of Malaysian companies, including Khazanah Nasional Bhd's regional office, which is involved in a number of Turkish investments amounting to US$1 billion.
Most recently, Khazanah's proposed acquisition of a 40 per cent stake in Turkey's airport management companies Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen and LGM was reported to be worth ?225 million (RM1 billion ).
Among Turkish manufacturing companies present in Malaysia are Turkom-Ceramic and Eyvap Sabun. Mustapa is also pushing for Turkish investors to explore the halal industry and economic corridors.
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