Turkish firms ready to strengthen trade here
Turkish companies that put potential investment in Ireland on hold at the beginning of the economic crisis are ready to re-examine their prospects, according to a trade delegation from the fast-growing economy.
The president of the Turkish national business association met with Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton in advance of a high-level trade mission to Turkey next month.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Muharrem Yilmaz said that there are significant opportunities to strengthen trade between the two countries.
While some Turkish companies put possible investment in Ireland on hold following the beginning of the economic crisis, he believed that more are now ready to re-examine their prospects for investment in Ireland.
Enterprise Ireland and the Tanaiste will spearhead a trade mission to Turkey in April. "The surging export growth of both our countries over the past 10 years, particularly in information technologies, has positioned us as trading nations and global players," said Mr Gilmore addressing senior members of Tusiad.
"Total combined trade figures for Ireland and Turkey are in the region of €1.2bn and I am confident we will see this figure grow over the coming years, which will be to the mutual benefit of both countries."
Turkey has been vying for EU membership for decades and is hoping that Ireland's presidency of the EU, which ends in June, will help kick-start accession dialogue.
Mr Yilmaz said that despite the difficulties facing the EU and problems for countries such as Ireland and Cyprus, Turkish businesspeople still believe that membership of the trading bloc would be hugely beneficial.
He acknowledged that many special incentives and tax breaks available to some companies operating in special economic regions in Turkey would have to end if membership became a reality.
He said that about 50pc of EU law is already transposed into Turkish law and that the country could easily be ready for membership in less than a decade if talks progressed.
He said the Turkish business community is keen to be influencing EU policies as a member.