Sun, Dec 4, 2016 | updated 07:43 PM IST

Sri Lanka, Turkey resume trade talks after 26 years

Updated: Nov 13, 2016 17:24 IST

Colombo [Sri Lanka], Nov. 13 (ANI): After a gap of 26 years, Sri Lanka and Turkey held trade talks on Friday as Colombo's trade with Ankara surged by more than 130 percent.

Sri Lankan Minister for Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen and Turkey Minister for Education Ismet Yilmaz led their respective sides to the talks.

"Turkey is a very important trading partner for Sri Lanka. The strong relationship between the two countries has grown steadily over the past years," the Colombo Page quoted Minister Bathiudeen as saying in the opening statement at the Second Session of the Sri Lanka-Turkey Joint Committee Meeting of Technical and Economic Cooperation in Ankara on November 11.

Recalling that Sri Lanka and Turkey have enjoyed 68 years of formally established diplomatic relations in the recent history, Bathiudeen described the initiative to establish the Sri Lanka-Turkey Joint Committee in 1991 as a landmark in the partnership between the two countries.

Bathiudeen said even though the joint committee between Sri Lanka and Turkey has not been convened for 26 years, the relation between the two sides has flourished, especially since the setting up of resident Diplomatic Missions in Ankara and Colombo in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Asserting that Sri Lanka's economy offers a great opportunity for both investment and trade within the country and avenues to penetrate the huge South Asian market, he said they aspire to rebuild the country and develop its economy in partnership with friendly countries such as Turkey.

"As a developing middle income country, and considering our strategic location, Sri Lanka will continue to follow open and free market economic policy to promote and expand trade and economic links with the outside world, and work towards being a foremost centre in the region," Bathiudeen said.

The Turkish Minister Ismet Yilmaz suggested the two countries should target a trade volume of US$ 500 million by 2020.

"Relations between both countries span a broad range of aspects. During today's meeting we finalised many areas of cooperation, which is a positive development," he said. (ANI)