Deng Li, the Chinese ambassador to Turkey, addresses the Turkey-China trade and investment seminar in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 28, 2019. Turkish and Chinese business people attending a seminar in Istanbul on Thursday explored ways of increasing bilateral trade and investment. A Chinese business delegation comprising 28 Chinese enterprises and more than 40 entrepreneurs attended the seminar. (Xinhua/Xu Suhui)
ISTANBUL, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Turkish and Chinese business people attending a seminar in Istanbul on Thursday explored ways of increasing bilateral trade and investment.
As a regional power straddling Asia and Europe, Turkey boasts huge potential for increasing its cooperation with China in a wide range of fields like agriculture, energy, transportation and tourism, said Lyu Xinhua, chairman of the Council for Promoting South-South Cooperation, a Chinese nonprofit organization.
Addressing the Turkey-China trade and investment seminar, Lyu said the Chinese enterprises, whose businesses cover finance, infrastructure, environmental protection, electronic technology, security, culture, tourism, agriculture and animal husbandry, were seeking new deals with their Turkish counterparts.
Lyu is on a visit to Turkey as the head of a Chinese business delegation comprising 28 Chinese enterprises and more than 40 entrepreneurs.
Speaking later at a press conference, Lyu described China and Turkey as "natural partners" on the grounds that the two countries are almost on the same level of development, with China being a manufacturing power and Turkey having relatively sound economic development.
He advised Turkish exporters to join the annual China International Import Expo in Shanghai and use other bilateral channels to market more Turkish products in China so as to further narrow the trade deficit with China, citing the expanding middle class in China as a result of the country's reform and opening-up over the past 40 years.
The China-Turkey trade volume has hit 100 billion U.S. dollars since the two countries cooperated under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative over the past five years, said Cui Wei, the Chinese consul general in Istanbul.
Over the same period, the Chinese investment in Turkey grew by 120 percent, with nearly 1,000 Chinese enterprises now operating in Turkey, while the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey increased by over 60 percent to nearly 400,000 in 2018, noted Cui.
Deng Li, the Chinese ambassador to Turkey, expected Turkish exports to China as well as Chinese investment and tourists to Turkey to double by 2021, the year marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In Deng's view, if some technical issues are smoothed out, Turkish cherries and other produce could be exported to China.
"The Chinese market is almost unlimited for many Turkish products," he said, urging Turkish businesses to find the right partners and devote more efforts to market Turkish products in China.
"Turkish pistachio could be delicious, but how many Chinese people are aware of it?" he asked.
Ismail Gultekin, a deputy governor of Istanbul, said the Turkish authorities have been doing their best to remove any obstacles to foreign investment in the country.
Murat Kolbasi, chairman of the Turkey-China Business Council under the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, said Turkish business people have long been seeking to boost their exports to China.
"We are aware of the challenges, but we desire to increase our cooperation and be in the Chinese market to minimize the gap in the trade figures," he said.