In the first ever Turkey-Palestine Business Forum held in Istanbul this week, Palestinian Economy Minister Dr. Hassan Abu Libdeh urged Turkish manufacturers to compete with Israeli products in the Palestinian market.
He also called on Turkey to put an end to the import of goods from settlements.
"We are telling the Turks that Israel exports to us $3 billion worth of products each year, and we call on Turkish companies to compete with it. We are willing to import the Turkish goods," Abu Libdeh was quoted as saying by al-Ayyam newspaper.
Turkey's Minister for Economic Affairs Zafer Caglayan declared that his country would adhere to the Palestinian minister's calls and stop importing products from Israeli settlements, while no longer allowing these goods to pass through Turkish territory.
Turks to visit West Bank
Nabil Maarouf, the Palestinian ambassador to Turkey said, "The Turks, in accordance with Minister Abu Libdeh's request, have assured me that they would not allow the export of settlement product and would not allow them to pass through Turkish territory, as they are produced on occupied Palestinian land, and they are therefore not considered Israeli exports."
During the forum, the Palestinians and Turks agreed to begin implementing a free trade agreement the two parties signed in 2005. The countries decided to strengthen their economic ties and a delegation of Turkish officials is slated to visit the West Bank in the near future to discuss joint business opportunities.
The Turks also reiterated their commitment to construct an industrial zone in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Turkish-Palestinian trade last year amounted to some $29 million, while Turkish-Israeli trade during the same period reached some $1.5 billion.
Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.
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