The President of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visited Pakistan from 13th to 14th February, 2020.

During this visit, a Pakistan Turkey Business and Investment Forum was organized by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) and the Trade Development Authority (TDAP) in partnership with the Turkish Ministry of Trade and the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) on 14th February, 2020.

Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, the Secretary MOC, made a comprehensive presentation highlighting Pakistan as a business-friendly country offering immense trade and investment opportunities. He said that Pakistan possesses a sizeable human resource, which is comprised mostly of educated youth. He invited the Turkish companies to invest in sectors like agriculture, dairy, services and tourism. He emphasized the need for creating a base of value-added sectors for onward exports. He reiterated the sentiments of the Prime Minister that Pakistan will be the next manufacturing hub.

Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera stressed on the need for translating excellent relations between the two countries into significant trade ties. He said that Pakistan’s manpower and Turkish skills can create an ideal mix to cooperate in various fields. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provides a golden opportunity to increase cooperation between both countries.

During the Forum, two Panel discussions were held on “Investment Opportunities in Pakistan” and “Turkish Companies’ Investment Experiences in Pakistan”. The panellists recommended deepening and broadening of the trade and economic relations between the two countries. They were of the view that both countries can complement each other in many areas with their respective expertise. Pakistan can utilise Turkey’s technological advantage in many sectors and also learn from the Turkish experience of exporting to Europe.

In his Welcoming address, the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood highlighted the importance of bilateral trade and said that the quantum of trade has to match the immense goodwill and cordial relations that exist at the political level between the two countries. He invited the business community to capitalize on this goodwill by taking up the challenge of enhancing bilateral trade to the next level. He apprised the audience that a lot of progress has been made in the Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment. He said that it has been decided to conduct a Joint Scoping Study to highlight the potential sectors. This will set the direction of the negotiations on Pakistan-Turkey FTA.

Ms. Ruhsar Pekcan, the Minister for Trade of Turkey, reciprocated the warm sentiments and agreed that trade and investment ties need to be enhanced. She explained the importance of joint ventures and transfer of technology in areas where Turkish companies can collaborate with their Pakistani counterparts.

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, in his address, acknowledged the immense respect and popularity which the President of Turkey enjoys across Pakistan. He appreciated the presence of large Turkish business delegation and participation of major Turkish business groups in the Forum. He highlighted the potential of Pakistan’s tourism, construction, information technology and agriculture sectors and various development initiatives where the Turkish business groups can collaborate with Pakistan. He invited the Turkish companies to take part in CPEC infrastructure projects and populate the Special Economic Zones.

The Turkish President, H.E Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in his address, warmly reciprocated the sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He conveyed his resolve to take the quantum of bilateral trade to US $ 5 billion in the coming year. He highlighted the presence of key Turkish companies in the energy, engineering, construction and electrical appliances sectors of Pakistan and said that more Turkish investment is on its way in dairy, food processing, agriculture, hydro-electric and pharmaceutical sectors. Besides investment, the President also highlighted the state of the art health facilities in Turkey from which Pakistan can also benefit. He appreciated the development of Strategic Economic Framework between the two countries and hoped that it would pave way for further strengthening of bilateral trade and investment relations in the coming years.