ANKARA, April 18 (Xinhua) -- The head of a leading business group here said the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will accelerate commercial ties between Turkey and China.
"The initiative lies at the heart of Turkey's longer-term vision for a more productive economic relationship not only with China but also with a rising Asia," the president of Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) Simone Kaslowski told Xinhua in an interview.
Kaslowski, who will attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, said the China-proposed initiative creates huge opportunities for participant member countries.
The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is scheduled for late April. Representatives from over 100 countries, including about 40 government leaders, have confirmed their attendance.
Proposed in 2013, the BRI aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
With great interest and enthusiasm, Kaslowski is closely following changes in China's economy and society, with Beijing carrying out a comprehensive and ambitious reform agenda.
"Every time I visit China, I've always been deeply impressed with the rapid change in her economy and society," he said. "The country is transforming in the digital area so rapidly that sometimes you feel as though you can see the change in real time."
He hailed China's significant achievement in the fields of artificial intelligence, cloud technology, mobile payment transactions and big data analysis.
China, declared as one of the four priority export markets by the Turkish Ministry of Trade, is currently Turkey's third largest trading partner, after Germany and Russia. According to the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board, the trade volume between Turkey and China reached 23 billion U.S. dollar at the end of 2018.
The president of TUSIAD welcomed more Chinese heavyweight companies to invest in Turkey when the country's economy fell into recession last year, requiring new momentum for recovery.
Kaslowski believes that China, under the frame of BRI, is not only a source of short-term finance for Turkey, but also a major stakeholder in its long-term economic development.