India, Turkey negotiating free trade accord: President Gul | delhi | Hindustan Times
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India, Turkey negotiating free trade accord: President Gul

Asking the private sector to take the lead in expanding economic ties, visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul Tuesday said India and Turkey will try to complete a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), currently being negotiated.

delhi Updated: Feb 09, 2010 20:13 IST

Asking the private sector to take the lead in expanding economic ties, visiting Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Tuesday said India and Turkey will try to complete a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), currently being negotiated.

"I do believe that FTA can be signed soon," President Gul told assembled captains of industry at a joint business session with the apex chambers of commerce and industry.

He indicated that while the technical negotiations were nearly over, some issues needed to be tied up.

The Turkish president arrived Sunday on a five-day official visit. He held talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the day and will attend a state banquet hosted in his honour by President Pratibha Patil.

Gul, who came to India with a large business delegation, urged Turkish corporate houses to look towards the Asian giant for opportunities that he said were "limitless".

Similarly, he also extended a red carpet to Indian business houses to invest in Turkey.

He referred to the similarities that both countries had of being democratic, secular and free market economies.

"Another is that the private sector is the driving force in economic growth...Time has come for private sector to take forward the ties with India," he said, adding that the companies of both countries should look at prospects of jointly investing in third countries.

Gul said that the "great potential" of economic ties was discussed in talks with Manmohan Singh.

"I can say with pleasure that both leaders are determined to have greater collaboration? We had extensive talks in various issues which was very productive. We took important decisions," he said.

The Turkish president acknowledged that India and Turkey had remained aloof from each other in the past because his country was member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the South Asian nation was a founder member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

"The most recent development is rediscovery of each other," said Gul.

Bilateral visits have been intensified with the Turkish prime minister coming to India last year, ministerial visits and reciprocal visits by army chiefs.

The Turkish president talked repeatedly about the dynamism of the Indian economy.

Earlier, chairman of the Turkish-Indian Business Council Cefi J. Kamhi appealed for a dilution in regulations for conducting business.

"Please give us the right to bypass red tape," he said.

Similarly, the president of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey Rifat Hisarcikliglu urged both countries to liberalise visa regimes.