Istanbul Chamber of Industry Board Attends Turkey-Iran Business Forum

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Minister of Customs and Trade Nurettin Canikli attended the Turkey-Iran Business Forum to discuss bilateral economic relations, primarily the Preferred Trade Agreement. Also present at the Forum was members of the Board of Directors of Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ICI), Sadık Ayhan Saruhan and Nurhan Kaya. The forum was organized with the initiatives by Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and Iran Chamber of Commerce.

Sadık Ayhan Saruhan and Nurhan Kaya shared their impressions of the forum upon their return. Board members stated that Iran-Turkey relations were discussed within the perspective of goodwill, adding their opinion as regards further development of relations.

Following are the remarks of Mr. Minister Canikli who made a speech at the Turkey-Iran Business Forum: “We are still lagging far behind the 30 billion dollar trade volume set as a goal by our Esteemed Presidents. We are first and foremost responsible actors in this. In the face of failure to reach this goal, we have to admit to our responsibility.”

Canikli stated in his speech that the relations between the two countries have “gained an incredible momentum” in recent months and added: “It might sound like an overstatement but it’s as if someone started this process with the touch of a magic wand. This is a very positive beginning and goes in the right direction. We received very clear messages that confirmed this opinion during the meetings we held today. This is a highly positive development for the future, people and the level of welfare in both countries. My hopes have been raised for the attainment of the desired goal in a brief amount of time.”

Canikli also pointed out to numerous developments that raised hopes for the future of bilateral relations between the countries. “The most important development is the enforcement of the Preferred Trade Agreement. At first, it will be a challenging process, but in the near future, we will all see how the agreement will substantially contribute to the economy and companies of Iran and Turkey. Criticisms may be raised in the beginning. You cannot imagine the amount of criticism we received in Turkey when we signed the customs union agreement with the European Union.

Among other things, a lot of critics pointed out to severe harm that the agreement would cause to Turkey and that the country would not be able to compete. But the agreement was eventually put into practice with determination. Today, Turkish companies have the strength to compete with any company anywhere in the world. You cannot achieve competitiveness by staying at home, confined behind closed doors. You have to enter the arena. You need to set out on the field and engage in competition not in the virtual but real world. Such agreements will hopefully pave the way for this.”

Turkey-Iran Business Forum

Organized by the joined initiatives of Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and Iran Chamber of Commerce, the forum received dignitaries and numerous industry representatives from both countries including Minister Nurettin Canikli and Iranian Minister of Communication and Information Mahmud Vaizi, Turkish Ambassador to Tehran Rıza Hakan Tekin, Chairman of the Iran-Turkey Business Forum Rıza Kami, Iran-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group Huseyin Sadr.