Turkey, Iran aim to boost trade cooperation

22:05, February 03, 2010      

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Senior Turkish and Iranian officials held talks in Ankara on Wednesday in a bid to boost trade cooperation, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Speaking at the opening of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) meeting, Turkish State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz was quoted as saying that Turkey aimed at opening a "golden age" in Turkish-Iranian relations with projects such as carrying Turkmen and Iranian natural gas to Europe over Turkey.

Yilmaz said Turkey and Iran were two "friend and brother" countries, adding that the development of bilateral relations would make positive contributions to the stability and prosperity in the region.

Yilmaz said the trade volume between the two countries exceeded 10 billion U.S. dollars for the first time in 2008, but decreased to 5.5 billion dollars in 2009 due to the fallout from global economic recession.

The Turkish minister said Turkey and Iran aimed at raising the trade volume to as high as 30 billion dollars within five years, adding that the two countries needed to remove barriers against trade.

Yilmaz said that a natural gas pipeline constructed between Turkey and Iran was one of the most important projects between the two countries, adding that the shipment through the pipeline was worth 1.5 to 2 billion dollars annually.

"It is obvious that these figures will go up in the coming years. Projects such as the transportation of Turkmen and Iranian natural gas to Europe over Turkey will bring our relations to a much higher level," Yilmaz said.

For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who arrived in Turkey on Tuesday, reaffirmed the importance of transporting Iranian natural gas to Europe over Turkey, calling for joint investments.

"Opening new phases in the South Pars Natural Gas Fields, solving issues regarding a sales agreement and the establishment of a joint refinery are important projects," Mottaki said.

Source: Xinhua
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