Journal of Turkish Weekly, 27 December 2005
Turkey and Egypt Sign Free Trade Agreement
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit hailed the Egyptian-Turkish relations at the beginning of a two-day visit by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to Egypt. The Egyptian Minister described the ties between Egypt and Turkey as "good" at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul.
Speaking of a planned summit between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Necdet Sezer on Tuesday, Abul Gheit said that the meeting will deal with wide-ranging issues, including means to promote comprehensive bilateral cooperation. The two leaders will also "exchange views on the current regional state of affairs," he added. Turkish President Sezer arrived in Cairo earlier on Mond
TURKEY AND EGYPT SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
During the visit a free trade agreement between Egypt and Turkey was also signed. Turkish Minister of State Kursad Tuzmen and Egyptian Foreign Trade and Industry Minister Rashid Mohammed signed the agreement that will constitute a complementary legal ground for improving mutual investments. With the agreement, both countries hope to see developments not only in commercial relations, but also in economic relations.
Tuzmen said foreign trade with Egypt will increase, and reminded that both countries are currently committed to the Barcelona process and plan to join the Mediterranean free trade region by 2010.
The process envisages the foundation of a free trade region consisting of 25 European Union and 10 Mediterranean countries, including Turkey and Egypt.
Kursad Tuzmen indicated that negotiations between Turkey and Egypt began in December, 1998 and got completed in September, 2005. ’’FTA with Egypt will increase our foreign trade,’’ said Tuzmen.
Tuzmen noted that a free trade zone will be established between 25 European Union members and 10 Mediterranean countries by the year 2010.
Tuzmen remarked that there are presently agreements between Turkey and Egypt on the prevention of Double Taxation, Incentives for Mutual Investments, and Economic and Technical Cooperation. With the FTA, the legal frame work for economic and commercial relations with Egypt would be completed, said Tuzmen.
’’The FTA with Egypt will be an important step towards commerce with Mediterranean countries, especially after the agreements with Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco and Syria,’’ commented Tuzmen.
Bilateral trade between Egypt and Turkey was estimated at around 726 million US dollars in 2004. During the first ten months of 2005, it has increased to 785 million dollars. Turkey’s exports to Egypt reached 572.7 million dollars, an increase of 46 percent during the first 10 months of this year. Turkey says the figures are below the real potential. Since 1996, Egypt’s share in Turkey’s exports and imports is constantly declining. With the new FTA, this trend is expected to change.
Compiled by the JTW Staff. News agencies