Turkey waits for Lavrov's visit for problems' solution

Minister Tuzmen said that that Turkey would reconsider Russia's candidacy process to World Trade Organization.

Turkey waits for Lavrov's visit for problems' solution
Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen said on Monday that the "red channel" (against Russia) was a technical practice.

He added that such technical practices should not be discussed in high-level organs such as Council of Ministers.

Tuzmen, who is currently in Urumchi, capital city of Uygur autonomous region in northwest of the People's Republic of China, said that the limitations which Russia was imposing on Turkish export products were not implemented on countries which Turkey competed in markets such as India and China.

Tuzmen said that obstacles and restrictions were completely against Turkey, adding that Turkey would reconsider Russia's candidacy process to World Trade Organization.

Tuzmen said that he informed Council of Ministers twice and also Foreign Ministry about the situation.

He added that Turkey took technical measures against Russia but that country was Turkey's top trade partner so relations would continue.

Turkey has put a package of trade measures into action against Russia, a move to retaliate against its top trade partner which has been delaying Turkish trucks at borders for weeks.

Russia has been imposing non-tariff barriers against Turkish exports that Turkish government objected saying it was against rules of the World Trade Organization and other international agreements.

As a retaliatory measure, Turkey started using a "red channel" practice which means Turkish customs officials would check Russian goods at customs physically, not based on papers. Turkish officials will also implement the "red channel" against goods from third parties to Russia.

Turkish officials said they would gradually implement some other measures.

Trade volume between Turkey and Russia was estimated to reach 38 billion USD at the end of 2008. Turkish investments in Russia is around 5 billion USD, while Turkish contractors have undertaken Russian construction projects worth over 25 billion USD.

Russia's top trade partners are the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, China and Russia. Last year, Turkish exports to Russia reached 4.7 billion USD, mostly automobiles, citrus fruits, tomatoes, synthetic thread, textiles and jewelery.

Turkey imported mostly oil, natural gas and mineral oil from Russia worth 23.5 billion USD.

But Turkey's State Minister & Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said that he hoped recent trade problems between Turkey and Russia would be resolved during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's scheduled visit to Turkey on Tuesday.

"Tomorrow is an important day, the foreign minister of the Russian Federation will be in Turkey and thus, we will have the opportunity to discuss recent problems," Cicek, who is also the spokesman for the government, said after a cabinet meeting in Ankara.

Cicek said that the cabinet had not "taken a decision" to take measures against Russia's restrictions to Turkish export products, and expressed Turkey's wish to maintain relations with Russia in the best way because Russian Federation was an important country for Turkey.

The minister said that Russia's foreign minister would discuss not only trade problems, but also recent developments in the Caucasus during his visit, and hoped that all problems would be solved as soon as possible.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Eylül 2008, 09:04