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Turkey, Slovenia Aim to Boost Investments

Brdo pri Kranju, 16 November (STA) - Turkey and Slovenia want to expand trade and investment cooperation as well as joint ventures on third markets, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and Turkish Minister of Customs and Trade Hayati Yazici said as a two-day session of the Slovenia-Turkey Economy Commission wrapped up on Friday.

The officials stressed that the two countries have friendly political and economic relations. Turkey is an important strategic trade partner and in politics it "nurtures similar values and has the same positions on open international issues," Erjavec said.

Foreign direct investment, tourism, energy, transport and energy were pinpointed by the commission as the areas with highest potential for expansion of cooperation.

Bilateral trade amounted to EUR 391m in 2011, 7% more than the year before, but Yazici said the two sides could not be happy with existing FDI figures as there was ample scope for investments, for example in telecommunications.

The ministers also see potential for cooperation between Slovenia's Port of Koper and Turkish ports, the former a window to Central Europe and the latter a gateway to Asia.

As for cooperation on third markets, both ministers singled out Western Balkan, where specific projects for cooperation in the energy sector are already under way.

Erjavec specifically mentioned the construction of hydro power plants in Montenegro and Macedonia. "Slovenia has the know-how and Turkey has huge potential for the realization of big energy projects," he said.

The intergovernmental commission also touched on problems hindering economic cooperation, in particular visas for Turkish citizens. Erjavec said Slovenia was restricted by EU law but would try to find solutions.

On the other hand, Slovenia highlighted customs procedures for rail cargo, as trains are held up at the border in the absence of round-the-clock customs services. Yazici said this would be addressed.

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