India, Turkey should start FTA negotiations: Envoy

To further enhance bilateral trade, India and Turkey should start negotiations for signing a free trade agreement (FTA), the Turkish envoy here said.

Updated: Oct 21, 2012, 17:49 PM IST

New Delhi: To further enhance bilateral trade, India and Turkey should start negotiations for signing a free trade agreement (FTA), the Turkish envoy here said.

"In 2011 we had traded around USD 7.3 billion, which heavily favoured India. I believe that the potential of trade is far more than this level and a FTA will help expand it enormously," Turkish envoy to India Burak Akcapar said.

When asked by IANS about the Turkish position on a joint study group (JSG) conducted on furthering the bilateral trade between both the countries, Akcapar said that both sides should start negotiations soon based on its findings.

"The FTA will also help bring down high import duties and will also allow Indian companies to export to European Union countries via Turkey as we have a duty free agreement with EU and are customs integrated with them," he said.

The JSG was formed for examining the feasibility of an FTA between the two countries and has submitted its report to the two governments, which are currently studying the findings.

According to the envoy, the excellent political and historic relations between both the countries also have the potential to attract Turkish investments into India in sectors like infrastructure development and tourism.

"Turkey has had good experience in developing infrastructure that can be replicated here. We have received positive response from both the sides on the infrastructure sector. We may see some developments soon," he said.

Currently, institutional arrangements in terms of joint commission for economic and technical cooperation (JCETC), joint business council (JBC) exist between the two countries.

Turkey and India are also signatories to agreements like avoidance of double taxation (DTA), reciprocal protection and promotion of investments (BIPA), maritime, agricultural and tourism cooperation.

According to data from the Consulate General of India in Instanbul, in 2011 both the sides had a bilateral trade of USD 4.09 billion, out of which Indian exports accounted for USD 3.62 billion, while Turkish exports stood at USD 0.477 billion.

Till January-July, 2012, both sides had traded USD 3.9 billion, out of which India's exports were USD 3.46 billion, while Turkish exports stood at USD 0.440 billion.

India's exports to Turkey include petroleum products, vaccines, cotton yarn, organic dyes, denim, steel, granite, antibiotics, carpets, tobacco, cars, sesame seed, TV CRTs, mobile handsets, clothing and apparel, tractors and aluminium.

In turn Turkey's exports to India include poppy seeds, auto components, marble, textile machinery, denim, carpets, cumin seeds, copper ores and concentrates, steel, gold, silver and jewellery.

More than 150 companies with Indian capital have registered businesses in Turkey in the form of joint ventures, trade and representative offices which include GMR Infrastructure, Tata Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, Reliance, Ispat and Aditya Birla Group.