Egypt should invest back in Turkey: Turkish official

Bassem Abo Alabass, Thursday 15 Sep 2011

Head of the Turkish-Egyptian business council says reciprocal investment between the two countries can build an effective economic union which would benefit the whole region

Egyptians welcome Erdogan
Turkey's PM, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, received a warm welcome in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian business should invest in Turkey to strengthen trade relations between the two countries and forge an effective union beneficial to the region, a Turkish trade official has said.

Speaking to Ahram Online on the sidelines of the Egypt Turkey Partnership Forum held in central Cairo on Wednesday, Zuhal Mansfield, chairperson of the Turkish-Egyptian Business Council, called for more Egyptian investors to consider Turkey.
”Turkey has more than 250 companies in Egypt. On the other side Egypt only has about 55,000 workers in Turkey, with very few companies,” Mansfield said.
She added that an economic union for Egypt and Turkey, the region's two most populous countries, would be the most effective in the Middle East and be beneficial for the development of the rest of Africa.
"Egypt and Turkey are to build a trade sea bridge between MENA and Eurasia as a beginning step in their deepening co-operation," she said.
The 'bridge', announced at Wednesday's forum will link the Egyptian port city of Alexandria with Mersin on Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast, slashing the time it takes to ship goods between the two countries.
The Emirates-based COMMIT Network and Egypt's Kadmar will collaborate on the project.
Mansfield also suggested Egypt and Turkey establish banks in each other's territory to make the investing process easier and cancel visa restrictions for travel between the two countries.
When asked about the alleged poor treatment of local workers in Turkish companies in Egypt, Mansfield rejected the claims.
“It’s never happened. As long as we are here in Egypt that means workers and governments are happy," she said.
On Wednesday, Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said it was mulling levy customs duties on textile imports after receiving a complaint from the state-owned Holding Co. for Spinning & Weaving about the 'dumping' practices of overseas companies.
Mansfield said Turkish firms, who have a sizeable involvement in the sector, did not carry out such damaging practices.
“Textile Turkish companies in Egypt are obligated to follow trade rules and allow fair competition. They know nothing about dumping," she said.
Speaking at the same event, Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan encouraged Turkish business representatives to more than triple their investments in Egypt.
"Your investments in Egypt are worth $1.5 billion -- I want it $5 billion," he told the approximately 280 Turkish investors attending the event.
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