by Burak Akinci
ANKARA, May 21 (Xinhua) -- The prospects for the trade relations between China and Turkey are encouraging as the Chinese economy is on its way to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, Turkish businessmen said.
"Trade between Turkey and China has not been grounded to a complete halt during this pandemic, we continued to trade," Murat Kolbasi, chairman of Asia-Pacific Business Council of Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board, told Xinhua.
Kolbasi indicated that Turkish industrialists also see a rebound in orders from the Asia Pacific region.
"We know that now over 90 percent of the factories have restarted production in China following the end of the lockdown in Wuhan," he said.
Along with other businesspeople engaged in trade with China, Kolbasi said he is optimistic about the future trade between Turkey and China, as the lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.
"We expect an increase in the exports of fruits and dairy products from Turkey to the Chinese market soon," he said.
The trade volume between Turkey and China stood at 23.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 and 21 billion dollars in last year, according to the data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute.
"For the moment, because of additional taxes imposed by the Turkish government during the pandemic and the depreciation of the Lira, imports from China are lower than normal," Kemal Kocak, head of the Turkish Association of Friendship and Solidarity With Chinese Businessmen (TUCIAD), told Xinhua.
"But we expect an upward trend in bilateral trade towards the end of the year," he said, adding that it would take up to a year and more for Turkish firms and businesses to fully recover from the impact of the coronavirus.
In Turkey's capital Ankara, there is a positive mood regarding the future of the China-Turkey trade ties.
"We are ready and willing to increase and diversify our trade with China, a country that we see as an important partner," a Turkish trade official told Xinhua, on condition of anonymity.
The Turkish government aims to diversify its portfolio of investors, which has been largely dominated by European countries, and boost investments from Asian countries.
The Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an important medium to promote the China-Turkey commercial partnerships, experts said.
International freight giant Maersk has recently launched its first intercontinental rail service between the Chinese city of Xi'an and Izmit in Turkey.
This new rail route will connect major areas of the two countries, diversifying their logistics options and significantly reducing shipping time. Enditem