Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak during his stay in Seoul for the Nuclear Security Summit. Following the meeting, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and South Korean Trade Minister Park Tae-ho signed a Joint Declaration for the Turkey-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, in an effort to further develop joint economic relations. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak also attended the signing ceremony. This will be Turkey's first free trade agreement with the Far East.
Prime Minister Erdoğan's schedule in Seoul yesterday started off with a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak. Erdoğan was joined by his wife Emine Erdoğan and daughter Sümeyye Erdoğan during his visit to the South Korean presidential residence known as the 'Blue House'. It was there that the provisional agreement was signed in an effort to increase bilateral trade. "After the necessary preparations are completed, our ministers will come together and sign the related agreements in June at the very latest," said Erdoğan.
TO BE A DRIVING FORCE
"This agreement will be a great driving force, particularly for the development of trade in goods. Similarly, well-known South Korean brands such as Posco and Hyundai, with plans to develop and expand investments in Turkey, respectively, will be much more profitable and competitive thanks to the Free Trade Agreement," Erdogan stated in an announcement made following the signing of the provisional free trade agreement. Similarly, investments by South Korea's well-known brands Posco and Hyundai will be much more profitable and competitive thanks to the FTA," he added.
FOCUS TO BE ON ENERGY, DEFENSE AND AGRICULTURE
Pointing out that at the end of 2011, the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and South Korea reached seven billion dollars, Prime Minister Erdoğan went on to state the following: "This does not reflect our potential. I believe that as a result of today's signatures and those that will come in June; this figure will increase to the level we desire. This will also allow us the opportunity to fix the import-export trade imbalance. There are a lot of areas where we could act jointly such as energy, defense collaborations, agriculture, ship building as well as the motor industry. It is also possible to take significant steps together in information technology. We have very clearly seen the positive results of the Free Trade Agreements we have signed thus far. We eagerly awaiting the month of June."
TURKEY'S FIRST FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH THE FAR EAST
Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan commented on the yesterday's provisional agreement signing by stating: "This agreement marks the first free trade agreement signed by Turkey with the Far East. For a certain period of time, we will be cancelling out mutual customs on industry and agricultural products. In the five years following the approval process for Korean industrial products and in seven years for our industrial products we will be zeroing out. Meanwhile, for the first time ever, the agricultural sector was an item included in a free trade agreement."
This is a translation of an article originally written by Yahya Bostan.