Foreign and Military Affairs

Silk Road will keep Sino-Turkish trade on the move

By Ai Yang (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-10-09 10:36
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Silk Road will keep Sino-Turkish trade on the move

Turkey's ambassador to China Murat Salim Esenli said in an exclusive interview with China Daily that bilateral trade volume is expected to hit $17 billion this year. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

Beijing - Turkey plans to multiply its railroad projects with China and welcomes more inbound Chinese investment, the country's ambassador has said.

"China is involved in the construction of the high-speed railway system between Ankara and Istanbul," Ambassador Murat Salim Esenli told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

"We are planning to multiply these kinds of cooperation areas."

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The diplomat made the remarks as Premier Wen Jiabao is on his first official visit to the Eurasian republic. The last time a Chinese premier visited the country was in 2002.

"We attach tremendous importance to the premier's visit," Esenli said.

"Hopefully, it is going to open new venues of cooperation."

China and Turkey are building a $1 billion high-speed railway linking Ankara and Istanbul.

Enhanced transportation links between China and Turkey will boost bilateral trade volume and efficiency, Esenli said.

"Through the Silk Road, our ties had been maintained, and transportation-wise, Turkey is strategically located," the ambassador said.

"Through land connections, just like the Silk Road, we will be able to shorten the transportation time from China to Turkey by 50 percent."

Transporting goods by sea takes at least 22 days, depending on weather conditions. It takes about 11 days by land, Esenli said.

"We are also encouraging Chinese companies to come to Turkey and establish their production lines there," he said.

Two Chinese telecommunication enterprises operate in Turkey - Huawei and ZTE. Since establishing their production lines in the country, they have gone beyond meeting local demand to also catering to the needs of the Middle Eastern and African markets, the ambassador added.

China is Turkey's biggest Asian trade partner, with a bilateral trade volume worth $10 billion last year.

"This year, we hope to bring it up to $17 billion," Esenli said.

He also said he hopes there will be more exports of goods from Turkey to China to close the deficit.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited China for the first time in 2009 - two years after taking office. He paid a six-day state visit and met with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, in Beijing.

Turkey has a powerful economic engine and has grown faster than most EU countries in the first half year of 2010. It has sought full membership in the bloc for decades.

"We will become the starting point for the EU to look at itself from a global vision," Esenli said.