FTA signing highlight of Najib’s Ankara trip

New Straits Times, Malaysia

FTA signing highlight of Najib’s Ankara trip

By Yushaimi Yahaya

16 April 2014

ANKARA: The signing of a Free Trade Agreement between Kuala Lumpur and Ankara will be the highlight of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s two-day visit to Turkey.

The inking of the agreement, announced when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Kuala Lumpur in January this year to mark the two nations’ 50th an niversary of diplomatic ties, is scheduled for tomorrow.

It holds significant promise for the two nations which had, in January, agreed to look into increasing bilateral trade from the current US$1.5 billion (RM6.75 billion) to US$5 billion, among others.

Islamic finance, tourism, cultural exchange and coop eration in developing nations are among the key issues the two leaders are expected to discuss during Najib’s visit.

Observers believe that the visit by Najib, who is expected to arrive in Ankara later today with wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, would further boost Malaysia’s presence in Europe, with Turkey viewed as a diplomatic and economic gateway to the continent that promises further benefits for an emerging economy like Malaysia.

It is a win-win situation for Turkey as well when one considers the attractive promise of access to South East Asia that Malaysia holds.
Today, Najib will hold several meetings with key people involved in the visit. He will also attend a dinner hosted by the Malaysian embassy here.

Najib and Rosmah are expected to pay a courtesy call to Turkish President Abdullah Gul at the Cankaya presidential palace tomorrow, before delivering a lecture entitled “Turkey-Malaysia Strategic Partnership in a Globalising Asia”, at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research, here.

Erdogan is expected to hold a welcoming ceremony at the Turkish Prime Minister’s Office after Najib’s lecture.

The ceremony will also see the Malaysian government presenting Ankara with a Proton Perdana limousine as a gift.

Other than the Malaysia-Turkey FTA, several other mem oranda of agreement, including those between Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Hacettepe University as well as one between UKM and Ankara University, are expected to be signed tomorrow.

Erdogan is scheduled to host a dinner for the Malaysian entourage at his official residence, before holding a joint- press conference with Najib, who will depart for Kuala Lumpur tomorrow night.

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