At a meeting of the Saudi-Turkish Business Council at the Council of Saudi Chambers, which was attended by representatives of leading Saudi and Turkish organizations, the Turkish Minister of Development Lütfi Elvan noted the opportunity for economic integration between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, whose respective foreign trade reached around USD 700 billion, while their bilateral trade did not exceed USD 6.5 billion, adding that transferring Turkish technology into the Kingdom can help meet the demands of the Saudi market, which goes in line with the Saudi Vision 2030.
Mr. Elvan conveyed the Turkish government’s appreciation of the Saudi leadership, whose recent stance on the failed coup d’état in Turkey reflects the aligning policies of both countries on different matters. He added that despite Turkey and Saudi Arabia possessing solid infrastructures, their trade remains below expectations. To help improve this, he suggested creating joint industries, and automotive and spare parts factories with the help of Turkish technologies, instead of importing these industries from abroad.
The Minister stressed the stability of Turkish economy despite surrounding regional events, which sees an annual growth rate of 3.5 per cent, and military industrialization rate of around 65 per cent. However, he noted that Turkish exports were affected by the declining oil prices due its influence on demand and supply. He promised to work on addressing all hindrances to advancing the two countries’ trade and investment relations, and supporting the free trade agreement between Turkey and GCC countries. He also emphasized the importance of enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries to face surrounding events, increase competitiveness and benefit from available opportunities in several economic sectors, including tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and real estate, among others
For his part, Secretary General of the Council of Saudi Chambers Eng. Omar Bahlaiwa stated that the investment environment in the Kingdom is open to all partners and friends, noting the cooperation opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, especially considering the latter’s expertise in meeting the Saudi market demands. Bahlaiwa also pointed to the Saudi Vision 2030 which focuses on attracting foreign investments, as well as the incentives the Kingdom offers to investors as regards loans, lands, and large market, among others. He encouraged Turkish businesspeople to study the opportunities in the Saudi market and expand their investments in it.
Chairperson of the Saudi-Turkish Business Council Mr. Mazen Rajab described the growing Saudi-Turkish economic relations as a reflection of the good political relations joining the two countries, noting that their joint investments reached around USD 7 billion in sectors such as energy, banking, real estate, and manufacturing, adding that there are more opportunities to increase economic relations, especially considering the comparative advantages of both countries. He suggested a number of initiatives to help in this regard, including completion of the agreement on free trade between Turkey and GCC countries; implementing the agreements on reducing tariffs and taxes on Saudi products; reducing negative lists; accelerating money transfers and procedures for Saudis’ ownership of real estate in Turkey; maximizing benefits from sovereign funds and the Islamic Development Fund; and creating regional economic bodies led by the two countries’ leaderships.
Inputs from Saudi Businesspeople stressed the importance of facilitating challenges they face in Turkey, including accelerating the creation of commercial arbitration centers, and unifying standards and specifications in both countries.