Syria, Turkey call for enhancing economic cooperation
Senior officials of Syria and Turkey on Saturday called for enhancing commercial and economic cooperation between the two countries and reviewing their local and regional development experiences, the official SANA news agency reported.
During the Syrian-Turkish Seminar for Joint Cooperation held on Saturday in Damascus, Syrian Local Administration Minister Tamer al-Hijjeh said that Syrian-Turkish regional cooperation program, which was launched in July 2007, helped boost cooperation and achieve mutual benefit through a number of projects, Xinhua reported.
Turkish Minister of State Cevdet Yilmaz noted that the free trade agreement between the two countries has helped increase bilateral trade volume to 1.8 billion U.S.dollars in 2008, saying that both sides hope to increase it to 5 billion dollars in the near future.
Yilmaz hailed the booming economic Syrian-Turkish relations and both countries' desire to develop the economic ties, adding that Turkish companies hope to work more effectively in Syria and expand cooperation in the fields of stock markets, banks and transportation, SANA said.
Ahmet Yaman, Deputy General Secretary of the Turkish State Planning Commission, said in the seminar that exchanging expertise in the field of development and planning will help bolster bilateral economic and social relations.
Yaman also affirmed that the Turkish State Planning Commission is ready to cooperate with its Syrian counterpart in drawing up policies of sustainable development, in addition to sharing its expertise in the fields of agriculture, tourism and housing.
Earlier on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdullah al-Dardari held talks with the Turkish Minister of State, during which the senior officials discussed the developing strategic cooperation between the two countries' state planning commissions.
Dardari also called for establishing a united thinkers tank in the future aiming at supporting the Syrian-Turkish Strategic Cooperation Council.
Damascus and Ankara find themselves in an ever closer integrated relationship with economic, political and even military ties strengthening in recent years.
A strategic cooperation council between the two countries was founded during Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's visit to Istanbul in September.
The two countries also signed an agreement last month to cancel entry visa requirements each other for their passport-holding citizens.