Vice-Minister-President of the Government of Flanders and Flemish Minister for Innovation, Public Investment, Media and Poverty Reduction Ingrid Lieten on Monday expressed admiration for the Turkish economy and said Turkey has become a leading country thanks to its rapidly growing economy at a time when most European nations are struggling under recession concerns.
Before her meeting with Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan in Ankara, Lieten spoke to the press about successful economic developments achieved by the Turkish government in the last two years, pointing out that that the Turkish economy has remained stable in a time of global economic slowdown and saying she believes Turkey will overcome the difficulties of ongoing crises. Noting that Turkey has major plans in the automotive sector, similar to Belgium, she pointed to one such plan in saying, “In the next 20 years, we will be able to use vehicles operated by electricity, which will increase the quality of the air.”
Beginning his speech by wishing Lieten a happy Mother’s Day, Minister Çağlayan noted he had met with the minister during a visit to Belgium and believes the incentives given in the Turkish automotive sector will attract Belgian investors and contribute to significant developments in that area. Underlining that economic relations with the Flemish government are critically important to Turkey, Çağlayan stated: “Turkey exported $2.4 billion to Belgium last year, and 91 percent of these exports were sent to the Flemish region.”
Çağlayan stressed that commercial relations between Turkey and the Flemish region need to be further developed and that the meetings will hopefully contribute to improvements. “Currently there are 449 firms in Turkey operating on Belgian capital, and their investments total approximately $7.5 billion. In addition, Turkish businesses have investments of close to $1.1 billion in Belgium. Foreign direct investment (FDI) from Turkey to Belgium was $2 million in 2011, while FDI from Belgium to Turkey was $1.4 billion.
Çağlayan also announced that Belgium’s Prince Philippe will be visiting Turkey along with 300 businesspeople in the next couple of months; the minister expressed his desire to sign a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint economic and commerce committee. He stressed the importance of the meeting and said instituting such third-party connections would expand business networks.