Turkey and Egypt may begin a gradual process of mutually ending visa requirements. For this, Egypt will first implement a “white visa” policy for Turkish businessmen and academics, facilitating their entrance to the country and allowing them to stay in the country for up to three months. The agreement will soon expand to cover others as well in the long run.
Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said he spoke with Egypt’s Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid over the possibility of abolishing visa requirements between the two countries.
Hisarcıklıoğlu also spoke about Nazif’s plans to ease the strict procedures for granting visas for businessmen and intellectuals. The strategic partnership between Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to improve their economies through increased levels of cooperation is far more important, explained Hisarcıklıoğlu.
The TOBB president also voiced the problems of Turkish businessmen who want to invest in Egypt. “We are here not only to earn money but also to share our experiences. It is straightforward that problems can arise in any country. For instance, Şişe Cam, a leading glass manufacturer in Turkey, wants to invest approximately $500 million in Egypt. They only want to have a natural gas access in their plant,” said Hisarcıklıoğlu.
Separately, Ahmed El Wakeel, chairman of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, announced on Monday that Ro-Ro voyages between Turkey and Egypt would be launched on March 1, 2011. The announcement came during a business visit by a delegation of Turkish businessmen under the chairmanship of Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu, president of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), to Egypt. Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a Ro-Ro line between Mersin and Alexandria at the Turkish Embassy in Cairo.
The idea, first put forward by the company COMMIT Co., was realized after the necessary permission was obtained from the relevant authorities Zühal Mansfield, head of the Turkish-Egyptian Business Council, also stated. “Any transportation and logistics firm will be able to apply for a license to run trips between Egypt and Turkey in the near future,” she said.
Speaking to Today’s Zaman, COMMIT Co. CEO Alper Celen sounded more optimistic and explained that the prospect of launching trips even before March seemed very likely. El Wakeel underlined that two companies from Egypt and Turkey had already reached an agreement on beginning the trips 10 days earlier. He also pointed out that Ro-Ro transport is much more advantageous when compared to road transportation and that such a Ro-Ro line will boost trade ties between the two countries.
In other news, in a meeting organized by a Turkish delegation with their Egyptian counterparts on Saturday in the historic city of Alexandria both sides agreed to establish the Turkish-Egyptian Chamber of Commerce. The meeting was also attended by Rachid Mohamed Rachid, the Egyptian minister of industry and foreign trade.
Hisarcıklıoğlu underlined that trade volume between the two countries has so far reached $3.4 billion and is expected to reach $10 billion in 10 years, adding that all available resources should be used to increase trade activities. He also suggested the expansion of an already established free trade zone between Turkish, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon to include Egypt as well. El Wakeel responded by saying that there is a free trade agreement between Turkey and Egypt and a duty exemption deal between Egypt–Syria–Lebanon is still in effect and expressed his hope that Egypt would be included in the list of countries Turkey has a common free trade zone with.
Turkish ambassador to Egypt Hüseyin Avni Botsalı also revealed that a visa waiver agreement is about to be concluded between the two countries for businessmen, artists and professionals. Visitors will be able to stay for up to three months without a visa.
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Reference : todayszaman.com
Posted by : Shaimaa Ahmed