Posted on January 18, 2019

Bilateral trade volume between Qatar and Turkey continued to witness double-digit growth in 2018. The combined value of trade exchange between the two countries hit QR7.28bn ($2bn), registering a sharp jump of about 54 percent compared to previous year (2017), said the visiting Turkish minister.

Trade exchange between Qatar and Turkey increased by over 46 percent by the end of 2017, compared to the same period of 2016, to reach QR4.73bn ($1.3bn). Turkey’s exports to Qatar increased by 61 percent to touch $1.2bn (QR4.37bn) in 2018, and for this year, Turkey has set a target to expand its export to Qatar between $2.5bn and $3bn, with the two-way trade volume exceeding over $5bn. “The cooperation between Turkey and Qatar is growing in all fields, including business, trade and investment. Trade volume between the two countries has seen remarkable growth over the last two years.

In 2018 it reached over $2bn, and expected to make new record this year,” Nureddin Nebati, Deputy Minister for Treasury of Turkey, told The Peninsula on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of ‘Turkey Expo by Qatar’, yesterday. Nebati added: “The bilateral economic cooperation between Qatar and Turkey is expected to deepen and expand in the coming years as government officials as well as business leaders from both sides are working very closely.” Nebati inaugurated jointly the third edition of the ‘Turkey Expo by Qatar’ at DECC with Sultan bin Rashid Al Khater, Under-secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Qatar).

The Turkish Deputy Minster noted that there are huge investment opportunities in the real estate sector of Turkey given the prices are much cheaper now than many other markets, especially for the foreign investors owing to the exchange rate advantage. Although the Turkish lira has made a significant recovery over the last few months after hitting a record low of 7.22 per dollar in August last year when it lost almost a third of its value by December 2018. But it is relatively much weaker against the US dollar providing great advantage to the investors and tourists. Currently the Turkish currency and dollar exchange rate is hovering around 5.5 per dollar.

Minister Nebati said that taking advantage of the exchange rate, a lot of investors from Qatar and its neighbouring countries are buying properties. The government’s recent policy decision to offer citizenship to foreign investors has also evoked huge response over the last two months. Under this policy, foreigners with an investment of $250,000 are getting Turkish citizenship, and enjoy almost all benefits as native citizens do except voting rights. Al Khater said: “This is an additional input to enhance the economic ties and trade exchanges between the two friendly countries.”

The trade includes goods such as Turkish food and building materials to Qatar and Qatari liquefied natural gas and aluminium to Turkey. Abu Issa Holdings, one of the largest distributors and retailers of supermarket goods in Qatar, has seen its Turkish brands mushroom to about 25 percent of its portfolio from about 10 percent before the boycott, CEO Ashraf Abu Issa told Reuters. At the expo, Abu Issa showcased Turkish honey and pasta introduced after the boycott that he said have become top sellers in Qatar, replacing Saudi and Emirati brands that once crowded shelves in Doha. Others, like Kingspan, an importer of Turkish insulated panels for warehouses and cold storage, said volume nearly doubled last year.

Abu Issa said he would stick with Turkish brands that have become popular even if the blockade were lifted, despite higher shipping costs. "We will continue with Turkey for sure. They are not a replacement. This should have happened a long time ago -- we discovered some amazing products and the quality is superior to what we would get from there," he said.

source: The Peninsula