ANKARA  - Pakistan and Turkey will expedite efforts for an early conclusion of a comprehensive preferential trade agreement (PTA) to further boost commercial ties between the two countries.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan in a meeting with BoI chief Mandviwala assured his government’s full support in encouraging Turkish companies to invest in Pakistan.

Both the leaders agreed that the existing goodwill between Turkey and Pakistan would help in further improving economic relations. The two sides also discussed the Istanbul-Islamabad cargo goods train Gul Train, and were of the view that running such a train on a regular basis will make it a viable project.

They referred to High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) which was the highest level decision making forum between the two countries in the economic field.

It was noted that HLCC was a milestone in the history Pakistan-Turkey relations and under this platform many agreements were signed in the economic and commercial field.

The Pakistani delegation also held extensive discussions with Turkey’s Deputy Minister for Economy Mustafa Sever who informed that currently Turkish companies have about $365 million investment fortfolio in Pakistan. The two sides noted that although bilateral trade crossed the threshold of $1 billion last year, but concerted efforts were required to maintain the momentum. They agreed that the signing of proposed comprehensive PTA would address all issues including the textile sector. Mandviwala said he was in touch with the Turkish companies who have investment projects or were planning to invest in Pakistan.

Mandviwala said Pakistan would encourage investment in steel and invited manufacturers to consider establishing world class plants in Pakistan.

Mandviwala, who has the status of Minister for State, was accompanied by Secretary Commerce Munir Qureshi, Ambassador of Pakistan to Turkey Muhammad Haroon Shaukat, and Consul General Istanbul Dr Yusuf Junaid.