Trade between Turkey and Russia should reach the joint $100 billion target of the countries’ leaders “as soon as possible,” Turkey’s trade minister said on Friday.
The value of bilateral trade has risen from $33.3 billion in 2012 to $25.7 billion in 2018, Ruhsar Pekcan told the Turkey-Russia Economic Councils’ 20th Joint Meeting in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.
Turkey’s exports to the country totaled $3.4 billion, while its imports were $22.3 billion, Pekcan said, underlining that trade between the countries should be balanced.
“There is serious potential [between Russia and Turkey], the governments are ready to provide all support to businesspeople,” she said.
Russia imports household appliances, freezers, construction materials, furniture, ready-made clothes, and medicine from the world, Pekcan underlined, adding: “Turkey exports all of these products to the world at the most competitive prices.”
Urging the use of local currencies to boost trade, she noted that Russia does 12% of its exports and 0.5% of its imports this way.
“We expect Russia to contribute to growing trade through local currencies,” she noted.
The two countries’ bilateral investments are currently around $20 billion, she added, stressing that there is a large potential in this area as well.
Lauding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to lift visa requirements for Turkish holders of certain passports, Pekcan called for a return to the visa-free regime of 2015.
For his part, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said trade between Turkey and Russia in the first five months of 2019 totaled $10 billion.
There is a greater potential between the two countries, which enjoy good relations, he added.
But their bilateral investment of $20 billion falls short, he added.
Joint Economic Commission
The 16th meeting of the Turkish-Russian Joint Economic Commission (JEC) was also held on Friday.
The meeting saw the signing of a protocol for cooperation in such areas as trade, energy, agriculture, transportation, science, and industry.
Pekcan said during the meeting that by 2023 Turkey hopes to raise its GDP to $1 trillion and exports to $332 billion .
For these targets, Turkey plans to integrate with the whole world, especially neighboring countries, she said.
She also said Turkey welcomed 6 million Russian tourists in 2018 and expects more in the years to come.