Speaking in the Chinese capital of Beijing, where he arrived with a delegation of businessmen on Saturday, Çağlayan said: “Of course, the incidents that took place in Urumqi had a negative impact on our mutual relations. However, from now on, we should collaborate on projects that focus on how to boost economic relations between the two countries.”
Following violence in the Uighur Autonomous Region's capital, Urumqi, in early July, over 140 people were killed and 800 others were injured. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said the Urumqi incidents were something “tantamount to genocide.” Turks see some 11 million Uighurs living in the region as their fellow Muslim kinsmen.
The minister told reporters that the government hopes to maintain healthy trade relations with China, expecting to restart some mutual investment projects that were previously suspended due to various reasons. “We want to revive the existing business potential with China.”
Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Çağlayan has said the government hopes to maintain healthy trade relations with China, expecting to restart some mutual investment projects that were previously suspended due to various reasons. ‘We want to revive the existing business potential with China’
Çağlayan said the two countries are expected to organize a joint economic council meeting in October and that his visit is aimed at initiating preliminary studies to this end with Chinese officials. Çağlayan said the government plans set a healthy ground on which to build a new cooperation with China, accompanied by mutual understanding between both sides. Çağlayan stated that the Foreign Trade Ministry and the Chinese Foreign Ministry have agreed to cooperate in many fields, adding that officials from both ministries will meet numerous times during the year to discuss potential partnership opportunities.
Asked whether there was a risk for the future of Turkey's economic relations with China, the minister said: “One way or another, Turkey and China continue their mutual trade. We think the current trade relations with this country are not at the desired level; both countries deserve far better than this. Hence, our main target is to improve trade with China, taking advantage of the existing business potential.” Çağlayan said the best way to overcome problems due to recent “unwelcome” incidents is to focus on developing an economic partnership.
Underlining that the joint commission's studies could yield “revolutionary” reforms in mutual trade with China, the minister said both parties expect to bring new initiatives on the table to this end. “One of the prominent projects on the agenda of the commission is to establish joint trade and industry centers.”
Making mention of China's population of 1.2 billion people, Çağlayan said this country offers vast investment opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs. He stated that Turkish exporters should conduct comprehensive market research before investing in China, underlining that they should introduce diversified goods to this huge market, taking different needs and demands into consideration. Çağlayan said the government expected to boost the morale of Turkish entrepreneurs who are doing business with China and encourage more businessmen to engage in trade with this giant economy. “Turkey's exports to China were $175 million in July of this year, and this number was $705 million in the first seven months of 2009,” he noted.