S. Korean importers sign declaration of intent with Turkey

S. Korean importers sign declaration of intent with Turkey
The Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) and officials from the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance signed a declaration of intent with Turkish businessmen on Tuesday, Today's Zaman reported.

The group, consisting of 20 Koreans, was hosted by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), the İstanbul Mineral and Metals Exporters' Association (İMMİB) and the Uludağ Exporters Union (UİB) in the province of Bursa, where both sides signed the declaration of intent to increase trade relations and cooperation between Korea and Turkey.

Speaking to participants at the signing ceremony, KOIMA Vice Chairman Gyu-Hwa Jang said: "Turkey has a great interest in the automobile and textile industry and we have a lot of knowledge and experience in these sectors. For this reason, I believe that bilateral cooperation will benefit both sides." Jang noted that, although it is his second visit to Turkey, he had not realized the full potential of the country's industry before coming to Bursa. Jang stated, "The name Bursa reminds me of the powerful soldiers of the Ottoman army [referring to Bursa as the backbone of the Turkish economy]. The textile, automotive and machinery sectors are very advanced. Turkey also manufactures a lot of popular brands."

Jang was pleased with the opportunity to see the industrial zone in Bursa and said: "Turkey and South Korea can achieve their common goals by cooperating as two close friends. As KOIMA, we want to invest in Turkey to export goods and overcome the trade imbalance between the countries. Currently Turkey has a disadvantage in trade and we want to work on this to improve relations."

UİB Deputy Chairman Orhan Gencoglu discussed the rapid increase in trade volume between Turkey and Korea and said: "The trade volume was $1.3 billion in 2003 and increased to $6.8 billion in 2011. Our wish is to work collectively to advance bilateral relations and increase the trade volume." Bursa's automotive industry exports are $20.4 billion and 72 percent of its recipients are in the European Union. This shows the high quality and advanced technology used in the automobile industry in Turkey.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak came to Turkey on Feb. 4-7 for a visit aimed at discussing ways to expand cooperation in several areas, including Turkish plans to build nuclear power plants, as well as to discuss methods for expanding trade. Myung-bak expressed his desire to see a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries in the near future.

Korea-Turkey relations would go beyond a simple FTA in the new world economy, in the post-global crisis era, as the level of economic development in Turkey and Korea is now more comparable. The location of Korea in Southeast Asia, and Turkey at the crossroads of three continents, offers unique advantages for Turkey to enter Asian markets, and for Koreans to enter several diverse markets in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Additionally, the market potential of Turkey attracts large foreign investments, in addition to offering a high potential return in such diverse sectors as energy, health, agriculture, tourism, machinery, iron, steel and transportation, such as high-speed train manufacturing and shipping.

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