Turkish Trade Minister Bolat: Our Trade Volume with Kosovo Reached $785 Million in 2023

Turkish Trade Minister Bolat stated that the trade volume with Kosovo reached $785 million in 2023, emphasizing, “I believe we will reach $1 billion by the end of 2024.” Minister of Trade Ömer Bolat, speaking at the Turkiye-Kosovo Business Forum held at the DEIK Headquarters, pointed out that the first economic forum between Turkiye and Kosovo was organized to date.

Bolat stated that the Turkish economy continues to grow, with exports continuing to be the main driver of this growth, reminding that in the last 20 years, commodity exports increased 7-fold, reaching $255.4 billion in 2023.

Bolat stated that they aim to increase commodity exports to over $260 billion in 2024 and to $300 billion in 2026, saying:

“In terms of service exports, we exceeded $100 billion in 2023. We continue our efforts to increase our service exports to $110 billion in 2024. In terms of our exports and investments, Europe and the Balkans region hold a special place. In this sense, Kosovo has played an important role in the Balkans region with its economic development since declaring independence. It is pleasing for us to see Kosovo make a great economic leap in the last 15 years. While the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $5 billion when it declared independence in 2008, it doubled to $10 billion in 2023. Similarly, per capita income doubled to $6,000 in 2023.”

Bolat also pointed out that Kosovo has recorded positive growth since 2008, stating, “The main reason for this growth is the expansion of the trade network and increased investments resulting from Kosovo’s membership in various international organizations and regional cooperation. In this context, Kosovo became a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) in 2007, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 2009, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2012, and the European Development Bank in 2013. On the other hand, free trade agreements, especially with the EU and Turkiye, have also made positive contributions to these developments.”

“Turkiye and Kosovo Have Deep-rooted Ties”

Minister Bolat emphasized that Turkiye and Kosovo have deep-rooted historical, political, and economic ties, stating that common culture and deep-rooted relationships form the basis of brotherhood between the countries.

“Turkiye is one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo’s independence,” said Bolat, adding:

“We fully support Kosovo’s stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. Kosovo’s stability means stability in the Balkans. The growing trade relations between Turkiye and Kosovo continue to contribute to both countries in line with the win-win principle. Our trade volume with Kosovo reached $785 million in 2023. I believe that the positive momentum we have gained in our trade volume over the years will continue, and we will reach $1 billion by the end of 2024. Our Free Trade Agreement has a significant impact on increasing these figures. If we diversify our commercial relations and benefit from regional opportunities, we can achieve new records in our trade figures in the coming years.”

Minister Bolat stated that Turkish companies had significant investments worth €429 million in Kosovo as of 2023, and according to the statistics of the Central Bank of Kosovo, Turkiye is currently the 6th largest investing country in Kosovo.

Furthermore, Bolat expressed satisfaction with the investments of prominent Turkish companies in Kosovo in airport operation and electricity distribution, stating, “Leading Turkish financial companies and banks, as well as pioneering organizations in the healthcare sector, operate in Kosovo. Our goal is to increase existing investments in the coming period.”

“Turkish Construction Companies Have Successfully Completed 30 Projects Worth $1.5 Billion in Kosovo”

Minister Bolat explained that Turkish contractors have gained a worldwide and justified reputation in large-scale and high-value-added projects such as airports, industrial facilities, highways, and power plants.

Bolat noted that Turkish construction companies have been contributing to Kosovo’s economic growth for a long time, saying, “Turkish construction companies have successfully completed 30 projects worth $1.5 billion in Kosovo to date. In terms of technical consultancy, our companies have completed 19 projects worth $9.3 million in Kosovo. We are pleased to see that the 2030 Mediterranean Games will be officially held in Pristina. We are always ready to cooperate with our Kosovar friends in this great organization.”

Assessing the areas with cooperation potential, Bolat emphasized that energy is one of these areas.

Bolat stressed the importance of transitioning to green energy to overcome the global energy crisis and bring the world to clean energy, saying, “In this regard, it is important that the European Investment Bank provides support to Kosovo in renewable energy with an investment of €33 million. We are pleased that Kosovo has prepared its 2022-2031 Energy Strategy to develop renewable energy sources and encourage private sector investments. I would like to emphasize that our companies are interested in renewable energy tenders within the framework of this strategy and are ready to support our Kosovar friends in this field.”

“Protocol for Establishing Turkiye-Kosovo JETCO Will Be Signed”

Trade Minister Ömer Bolat emphasized that it is a priority for Turkiye to increase trade and economic relations with Kosovo, increase investments, and develop partnerships in all these areas, such as energy and construction.

Stating that improving economic cooperation between countries will greatly contribute to both economies and increase the economic infrastructure and welfare of the region, Bolat highlighted that tomorrow, they will sign the Protocol for Establishing Turkiye-Kosovo Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) with Kosovo Minister of Industry, Entrepreneurship, and Trade, Rozeta Hajdari, in Ankara.

Bolat stated, “This mechanism will create a dynamic and fast system to take concrete steps for the development of our economic and commercial relations. We have no doubt that our efforts will contribute to the prosperity of both countries. As a candidate country for the European Union, Kosovo is an important trading partner for Turkiye. We sincerely believe that Turkiye and Kosovo, as brother countries, will further enhance their close and fruitful cooperation in the future.”

Source: AA / Prepared by Irem Yildiz

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