Turkey, Ukraine likely to sign free trade agreement by end of the year

A free trade agreement between Turkey and the Ukraine will be signed by the end of the year, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said recently thanks to the lifting of visas between the two countries implemented last month.

“The free trade negotiations we began at the end of 2011 have reached a critical stage. We are targeting to have the free trade signed by the end of the year,” Erdoğan said at the “Turkey-Ukraine High Strategic Council” meeting in Kiev, co-hosted by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Erdoğan said the two countries currently conduct $6.5 billion in trade, but Turkey hopes to increase this figure to $20 billion by 2015.

Erdoğan also stressed that the Crimea region could be an important trade bridge between the two nations with the potential for joint projects in the fields of tourism, agriculture, renewable energy and industry. In particular, Erdoğan said they were planning on constructing an Organized Industrial Zone in the Crimea.

Another key area of focus between the two countries should be energy, Erdoğan said. The prime minister said the two countries could join forces in developing natural gas storage units in Turkey, extracting hydrocarbon Ukraine and possibly building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.

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