Nov 16, 2016

Sri Lanka–Turkey trade talks resume in Ankara after 26 years

As bilateral trade surged by more than 130%, trade talks between Turkey and Sri Lanka re-opened recently in Ankara-after 26 years. Turkey has also been invited by Sri Lanka to exploit Sri Lanka’s present and future Trade Agreements with South Asia, for bigger trade gains.

“Turkey is a very important trading partner for Sri Lanka. The strong relationship between the two countries has grown steadily over the past years” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen in Ankara.

Minister Bathiudeen was delivering his opening statement at the Second Session of the Sri Lanka –Turkey Joint Committee Meeting of Technical and Economic Cooperation in Ankara recently.. Minister Bathiudeen led the Lankan delegation to Ankara while the Turkish side was led by Minister of Education of Turkey Ismet Yilmaz. In 2015, bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $230 Mn.

“The First Round of Sri Lanka Turkey Joint Committee on Technical and Economic Cooperation after 26 years takes place at a momentous time in Sir Lanka when Sri Lanka is pursuing an open and transparent agenda to strengthen democracy and its structures and the rule of law to ensure that the fruits of democracy peace and prosperity are enjoyed by its people" he said.

The value of total trade turnover between the two countries has increased from US$ 97 Million in 2005 to US $ 230 Million in 2015. Tea is a major item and the value of tea export to Turkey in 2015 accounted for 76% of Sri Lanka’s total exports. The value of Sri Lanka’s imports from Turkey has also been increased in the recent years reaching $ 50 Mn in 2015. The major item of imports from Turkey are Plastics, Miscellaneous edible Preparations. Turkey invested US$ 2.5 Million FDI in Sri Lanka from 2010 to 2015 and ranks 45th position among FDI sourcing countries to Sri Lanka. Tourism is another area that brought people to people contacts as Turkish Airlines flies from Istanbul to Colombo direct.”

“Let us target trade volume to $500 million by 2020” said the Turkish Minister Ismet Yilmaz, and added: “Relations between both countries span a broad range of aspects. During today’s meeting we finalised many areas of cooperation, which is a positive development.”

Bilateral trade between the two countries is on a growing trend, registering an increase of around 135% by 2015 when compared to 2005.