Ghana, Turkey to sign trade agreement
20 December 2011
Ghana and Turkey will by January 2012 conclude bilateral negotiations for a free trade agreement aimed at increasing trade volumes between the two countries.
The Second Secretary and Charge d’Affaires of the Turkish Embassy, Ms Ipek Zeytinoglu, announced this at the opening of the 2nd Ghana-Turkish Export Products Exhibition in Accra.
Organised by Meridyen International Fair Organisation, the three-day fair which attracted more than 50 companies from Turkey representing various private sector businesses, ends on December 22, 2012. Among the products on exhibition are industrial machinery, plastic wares, detergents, woolen carpets, floor mats, confectionaries and automobiles.
The exhibition comes on the heels of the 2nd Ghana Joint Economic Commission Meeting in Accra in October, which, among other things, charged the Trade Ministries of both countries to raise the volume of trade between the two countries to $1billion by 2015.
In that regard, Ms Zeytinoglu said although the dynamism and entrepreneurship of the private sector in Ghana and Turkey had a primary role in enhancing our trade relations, an equally important role will have to be assumed by “our governments by providing an adequate legal infrastructure between our two countries and thus supporting our business communities”.
Ghana-Turkey diplomatic relations started in the 1950s and has since blossomed. Ghana is considered Turkey’s third largest trade partner. Currently, while the country’s main export to Turkey include cocoa and gold, Turkey on the other hand, exports to Ghana commodities including stones, cement, metals, mineral oils, electrical machinery and equipment.
The bilateral trade volume between the two countries amounted to $175 million by the end of 2009 and increased to $290 million in 2010, with that of 20 11 estimated to hit $400 million.
Currently, the volume of trade weigh heavily in favour of Turkey, but Ms Zeytinoglu noted that to balance trade, “the business communities of our two countries will have to work hard and it is precisely the mutual organisation of trade fairs that will be instrumental.
“From our side, we also urge the Ghanaian exporters to participate in the Izmir International Trade Fair which is organised every year in September in Turkey,” she stated.
As an incentive to boost trade, she said the two countries also envisaged to conclude an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation.
Mr Kofi Larbi, a Director of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, who represented the sector minister, observed that exhibition “provides us not only to strengthen the long-standing diplomatic ties and economic relations of our two countries but also to deepen trade and economic co-operation between Ghana and Turkey”.
The search for export markets for products, he stated, had become very intense in recent times as countries all over the world were deploying considerable efforts to secure their fair share of the international market.
He said the current focus of the trade and industry sector included the transformation of Ghanaian businesses and enterprises to become highly competitive create jobs and improve the livelihood of Ghanaians.
For that reason, the director said the ministry was implementing policies including the Private Sector Development Strategy IT and a new National Export Strategy.
“In line with the government’s broader objective of achieving a better Ghana for all, the trade and industry sector is committed to increasing international trade through an aggressive export drive based on improved competitiveness of local industries and enhanced competitiveness of Ghana as a business destination.
He urged Ghanaian entrepreneurs to make good use of the opportunities that the fair would provide to create long-lasting relations between the two countries.
The first Ghana-Turkish Export Products Exhibition was held in Accra in April 2001.