From left to right: TUSKON President Rızanur Meral, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and Vietnamese Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan.
The government of Vietnam is keen to strengthen mutual trade and investment ties with Turkey and increase the current bilateral trade volume of $850 million to $2 billion in 2012, Vietnamese Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan said in an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman on Friday in İstanbul.
Doan, accompanied by 40 businesspeople from Vietnam, was in İstanbul to participate in a Turkey-Vietnam Trade and Investment Forum organized by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON). Representatives of businesses from various sectors in Vietnam met with more than 100 Turkish businesspeople to discuss possible cooperative opportunities during Friday's TUSKON event. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and TUSKON Chairman Rızanur Meral also delivered speeches on Friday. Evaluating the current trade relations between Turkey and Vietnam, two fast developing economies, Doan said trade between the two countries was developing very well. But she added that her government encouraged new investments particularly in the fields of tourism, science and technology research and development and education in Vietnam. Turkey and Vietnam signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in February, a step to contribute to the friendship between the two countries as well as strengthen economic ties. “We are committed to working closely with Turkey to enhance economic, commercial and investment cooperation and promote trade ties. I believe that our countries, as gateways to Asia and Europe, have enough political will and economic potential to further improve mutual trade,” she explained.
Turkey can reach emerging markets in South Asia through Vietnam, and we have the similar opportunity to branch out into the EU market via Turkey, Doan continued, adding: “The Vietnamese government has taken steps to create attractive investment opportunities for foreign investors, especially for Turkish entrepreneurs. We pay a lot of attention to upgrading our infrastructure to meet the investment demands of foreign entrepreneurs. Vocational training and using the country’s young labor potential are also among our priorities.”
Turkey exported $109 million worth of goods to Vietnam last year. Although this figure is too small given the total population and the economic size of the two countries, the good news is exporting goods to Vietnam has become a countrywide affair in Turkey as some 37 provinces across the country, from all regions, managed to export their products to Vietnam in 2010.
Arınç said the government has started studies to hammer out a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Turkey in 2010 signed a deal on accession to ASEAN’s Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). The government places heavy importance on improving trade with ASEAN, which spans an area of about 4.5 million square kilometers with a population of approximately 580 million people, or 8.7 percent of the world’s population.
Meral said Vietnam is a safe haven for Turkish investors that would like to open to the Asia-Pacific region because of its lucrative investment environment and political stability. “Vietnam is currently the fourth biggest oil producer in Southeast Asia, while it also has rich coal, natural gas and other metal reserves. These rich resources offer many opportunities for Turkish businessmen,” Meral added.
‘We highly appreciate services of Turkish schools in Vietnam’
Highlighting that the two countries enjoy long-term political and social relations, Doan said: “We attach great importance to cultural and social exchanges between the two countries. Education plays a prominent role here, and we highly appreciate the presence of the Turkish schools in Vietnam.” She said schools established by Turkish entrepreneurs in Vietnam help Vietnamese students have access to advanced education.
Noting their government encourages investments in education, she said they would be happy to see Turkish entrepreneurs develop new projects for opening new schools in the country “so long as they maintain the current efficiency and quality work.” The fifth campus of the Turkish Horizon International Bilingual School was opened this February in Hanoi.
Inspired by the teachings of the widely respected Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, Turkish volunteers, teachers and businesspeople, have opened educational institutions from kindergartens to universities in more than 100 countries around the world since the early ‘90s.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
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