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Web Desk
February 13, 2020

Turkey's Erdogan arrives in Islamabad on two-day official visit


Web Desk
Thu, Feb 13, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Isalmabad on a two-day visit to Pakistan on Thursday along with a sizable delegation of business leaders for focused meetings that may fetch export and import orders for both sides.

Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived at the Noor Khan airbase to personally receive the Turkish president.

The prime minister was accompanied by the members of the federal cabinet.

A senior official from the commerce ministry said on Wednesday that the business to business interaction between Pakistan and Turkey is set to begin from Thursday (today).

The Turkish president will also address a joint session of the Parliament on February 14.

This is the second time that the Turkish president has visited Pakistan since he assumed office in 2014. Before becoming president, Erdogan had also visited Islamabad twice as the prime minister of Turkey.

Over 60 companies and 100 delegates from Turkey are accompanying Erdogan on his visit, The News said, citing sources from the commerce ministry. The Turkish delegation is expected to hold talks on various sectors of the economy with business leaders in Pakistan.

The business-to-business meetings will cover trade, investment, cooperation on tourism, military procurement, defense industry, energy, textile, food, livestock, import and export, airways, real state, trade, shipping, agriculture, jewelry, and automotive construction.

At the official level, the sixth round of the Pakistan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) will also be held, the publication reported. The HLSCC works as a joint cabinet meeting co-chaired by the two top leaders from both sides.

The HLSCC functions through Joint Working Groups. In the case of Pakistan, six JWGs were formed in December 2010. The meetings of the Joint Working Groups would be held on i) Trade and Investment; ii) Energy; iii) Transport and Communication; iv) Culture and Tourism; v) Education, and vi) Finance and Banking.

The JWG on Trade and Investment is expected to discuss all the issues hampering the growth of bilateral trade. Pakistan may also ask for a consensus mechanism paving the way for a free trade agreement (FTA) acceptable to both countries, sources told The News.

The existing trade volume between the two countries has dropped drastically from $1.08 billion to $792 million after the imposition of a protective duty on textiles by Turkey. Turkey imposed an 18% protective duty on textiles recently, leading to a decline in exports from Pakistan.

Pakistan expected Turkey, being part of the customs union with the European Union, to provide Islamabad access to the Turkish market under a status similar to the GSP Plus, but the agreement in this regard has not been not forthcoming.

Rumours of Pakistan-Turkey ties have suffered will die down: FM Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to Geo News, saying that Pakistan had no reservations if Turkey wished to invest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

"We have invited every country that is friends with Pakistan to invest in CPEC," he said. "Pakistan would have no reservations if Turkey wishes to invest in the project."

In response to a question about PM Imran's last-minute decision to not attend the Kuala Lumpur visit, the foreign minister said that Turkey "was a friend and understood our situation".

"Turkey understands our point of view and it stands with us," he said. Qureshi said that PM Imran's recent visit to Malaysia showed that Pakistan had historically enjoyed exemplary relations with Malaysia and the situation had not changed.

He appreciated President Erdogan for being extremely clear on the issue of occupied Kashmir and supporting Pakistan's stance wholeheartedly. "He has supported the Kashmir cause and shown that he stands with Pakistan and Kashmiris," he said.

Qureshi said Erdogan's visit will boost ties between the two countries as around 200-250 businessmen are accompanying the Turkish president to explore business possibilities.