India fast-tracking comprehensive trade pact with Turkey: Suresh Prabhu

India is looking to finalise a comprehensive trade agreement with Turkey, commerce minister Suresh Prabhu said, adding that he is trying to fast-track a meeting of the joint committee for economic and technical cooperation.

During a meeting with a Turkish trade delegation the commerce minister also took up a proposal by Turkey to deal in local currency, which, he said, is under consideration of the finance ministry.
He requested the minister of trade of Turkey to organise the next India-Turkey Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation meeting as early as possible so that regular discussions on issues of concern between the two countries can be dealt with. 
The draft Joint Study Group (JSG) report, discussed by both countries in August 2018, needs to be finalised soon so that negotiations may begin, Pabhu said, adding that India has submitted its chapter to JSG Turkey needs to make their submission as early as possible.
Prabhu said he will be leading a high level business delegation to Turkey in February next year and will work with his Turkish counterparts to make sure that all the issues being raised in the bilateral meeting by the Turkish side are addressed.
Later the commerce minister addressed the India–Turkey business forum in New Delhi where he said that India is committed to make bilateral trade balanced and sustainable for both countries. Turkey is an important trade and business partner and both countries can benefit from each other, he said.
He invited Turkish construction companies to participate in the business of the growing aviation sector in India, which, he said, is growing at 20 per cent - the fastest growth seen in the aviation sector. He said hundred new airports will be constructed in the next ten years with an investment of $65 billion. 
India-Turkey bilateral trade has increased significantly in the last one and a half decade. Major Indian exports to Turkey include medium oils and fuels, man-made filaments and staple fibres, automotive spare parts and accessories and organic chemicals. Turkey’s exports to India are poppy seeds, machinery and mechanical appliances, iron and steel articles, inorganic chemicals, pearls and precious stones and metals and marble.
In 2017-18 bilateral trade stood at $7.2 billion. Turkey’s imports from India during 2017-18 amounted to $5 billion while its exports to India during the period was lower at $2.2 billion.
Investment flow from Turkey to India from 2000 to 2018 stood at $182.18 million, comprising mostly areas like construction, glass and machineries while outward investment by India into Turkey between 1998 and 2017 stood at $121.36 million.