To boost bilateral trade between Turkey and Qatar, work to ease transportation through Iraq and Iran must be accelerated, Turkey’s customs and trade minister said on Tuesday.
"We want to create a mechanism which makes transportation easier and provides a transit pass via Iraq between the two countries," Bulent Tufenkci told the Turkey-Qatar Business Forum held by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and Qatar’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Qatar Chamber) in the capital Doha.
He stressed that 2015 had seen bilateral trade of $784 million, followed by $678 million in 2016 and $788 million in the first 11 months of 2017.
Trade should climb higher than this, he added.
He said politicians and ministries of the two countries are ready to support businesspeople boosting trade.
Turkey became a key player in its region and the world with its young, qualified workforce, a large domestic market, a disciplined financial sector, developed substructure, and competitive private sector, he stressed.
He said that Turkey's legislation has helped investors, and the country enjoys a free market economy.
"The two countries complement each other's economies. Many areas can be co-invested in third-country markets," he stated.
He stressed that the two countries needed to raise and diversify their trade and move it to value-added fields.
Qatari capital, Turkish entrepreneurial spirit
All the rights Qatar citizens have are also enjoyed by investors, said Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani , Qatar’s economy and commerce minister.
He said: "I would like to thank both Turkey and Qatar's private sector. They have made an effort to overcome the cruel embargo imposed on Qatar."
Thanks to the forum, strategic partnerships will be promoted and the two countries' economic position will move forward, he highlighted.
The two countries' bilateral trade has risen nearly 59-fold from $15 million 15 years ago to $900 million, while investments from Qatar to Turkey ballooned from $1 million to $1.6 billion in the same period, said TOBB head Rifat Hisarciklioglu.
He added: "Qatar has capital and Turkey has an entrepreneurial spirit. Bring them together with concrete projects."
Qatar wants to forge cooperation with the private sector of a friendly country such as Turkey, said Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassim Bin Mohammed Al Thani, chair of the Qatar Chamber.
He stated that they will not forget Turkey's support to Qatar in the face of the embargo.
As part of the forum, 400 Qatari and Turkish businesspeople from 13 sectors held meetings.
Turkey backs Qatar in the Gulf crisis that was triggered last June when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar.
The four states accuse Qatar of supporting terrorist groups — allegations Doha denies, calling the embargo a breach of its national sovereignty.