The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) says it is establishing a Turkish-Arab Chamber (TAC) on the back of an agreement that it will sign with the Union of Arab Chambers (UAC) later this week.
TAC will see Turkey establish a business relationship with 22 economies within the Arab region, estimated to have a combined economy of around US$2.7tn according to a statement from TOBB.
TOBB president, Rifat Hisarciklioglu says: “The Turkish-Arab Chamber will contribute to the development of trade and investment relations between Turkey and Arab countries through joint activities and joint works.”
Turkey has been pushing for trade agreements with its Arab neighbours. Last month, it met with foreign ministers from Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries and successfully extended the current GCC-Turkey Joint Action Plan (JAP) until the end of 2018.
The JAP encourages co-operation between member countries through the use of working groups in the areas of trade and investment, agriculture and food security, transport and communication, energy, environment, tourism, health, culture and education.
In a joint statement following the meeting the GCC said it has tasked its secretariat to prepare proposals for enhancing GCC-Turkey co-operation, including a relaunch of free trade agreement negotiations between the two.
“The ministers agreed to hold the third meeting of the trade and investment working group in 2017 in Turkey, and reiterated their determination to enhance trade and investment between the GCC and Turkey and remove barriers as soon as possible,” it said.
Founded in 1951, the UAC is an umbrella organisation representing private sector chambers and unions across 22 Arab countries.
Headquartered in Beirut, members include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait and Oman and the Union of the Chambers of Central and North African countries such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Somalia and Sudan.