05th October 2009, www.dailymirror.lk, by Deepal V. Perera
A bilateral meeting held with the visiting Sri Lankan delegation, Turkey yesterday agreed to set up a Joint Economic Commission to foster trade and bilateral relations between the two countries.
This was discussed and agreed upon when the Sri Lankan delegation led by Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Central Bank Governor Ajith N. Cabraal met with Finance Minister of Turkey Mehmt Simsek in Istanbul yesterday.
At the meeting with the Sri Lanka delegation the Turkish Finance Minister pointed out that there is a necessity for both countries to have an awareness programme highlighting the trade potential between the two countries and setting up of joint economic commission would lead that process.
“In Turkey there is a very good demand for Sri Lankan tea because of its strong flavor but Ceylon tea in most of the cases are smuggled commodity from neighboring countries therefore most of the people call its as – smuggled tea,” Turkish Finance Minister Simsek said.
“Some time back we introduced the free visa regime to our neighbouring Syria in order to foster relations and trade. Because of the free visa regime we find lot of people traveling form Syria to Turkey and vice versa. When these people travel between the boarders they bring in tea made in Sri Lanka and China. These teas hold good demand in Turkey and people refer it as ‘smuggled tea’,” the Finance Minister said.
“This is the reason that our Sri Lanka tea should make strong presence here in Turkey. There is an urgent necessity that Sri Lankan tea exporters and Turkish counter parts get together and bring in strong trade relations . I would take this point and organize a special trade delegation come to Turkey in order to usher formal and more trade between the countries,” Sri Lankan Trade promotion Minister Amunugama said.
Central Bank Governor Ajith N. Cabraal also pointed out the necessity of setting up the joint economic commission between the two countries in order to foster bilateral and trade relations.
At the meeting it was also discussed in promoting shipping and tourism between the countries.
The Sri Lankan delegation explained the Turkish Finance Minister on Sri Lanka’s quest in becoming shipping hub in the region and current development activities of the Hambatota port.