Posted on 14 September 2017
As some Gulf and Arab nations staged an economic blockade of Qatar over the summer months, its close advocate, Turkey, stepped forward and exported essential food and other products.
Turkey’s exports, from June to August, was worth an impressive $165 million – an 84 percent rise – compared to the same period last year.
A 75 percent increase – or $65 million in exports – in August alone were recorded compared to the same month in 2016. Exports in livestock and aquatic products took the biggest share in volumes, with an incredible $8.6 million, while eggs accounted for $7 million. Some $8 million was for electric and electronic services.
As part of the growing bilateral bonds, the small Gulf state has now announced plans to invest $5 billion in Turkey – from property to business – making it the Emirati’s seventh biggest financial partner.
One of the five biggest families from Qatar has agreed to plough the finances into a joint venture and investment vehicle with Turkey’s Azure Group.
Named Azure Mana, the company will operate from Doha and channel funds through to Turkey. Investments will range across different sectors from real estate, logistics, cargo, food and construction.
However, Qatar’s links with Turkey have been quietly growing in the last four years, with impressive investments in big business.
Commercial Bank of Qatar bought a 70 percent stake in Abank for $460 million and followed this up at the end of last year, with another $224 million investment for more shares.
Turkey’s Finansbank was taken over by Qatar National Bank for 2.75 billion euros in late-2016, while Turkish satellite provider Digiturk was snapped up for $1.4 billion by Qatari broadcast giant beIN Media Group.
Qatar-Turkey’s relationship has been cemented further with news that a new weekly service will be operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) between Turkey’s port of Mersin and Qatar’s Hamad Port.
The world’s second largest container vessel operator regarding capacity will begin services, with an initial 5,000-tonne ship. This will provide quicker cargo transit, with port calls at Turkey’s Istanbul, Cannakale and Iskenderun before its final destination in Qatar.
MSC said it hopes to extend exports out of Hamad Port to other nations, including Oman and India. It is set to lay on a second ship from the Turkey to Doha later this month (September).
Meanwhile, a new land route was established between Turkey to the Port of Bushehr in Iran and then by sea to the Port of Ruwais in Qatar over the summer. Up to 200 trucks, carrying everything from fruits to grain was transported into Qatar.
All three nations have said the route will continue to flourish and help reduce transportation costs of goods by 80 percent compared to air freight.
To press home the links and to build for the future, talks were organised between Qatar and Turkish companies in Izmir in July. Up to 90 representatives from Qatar-based firms and 150 companies from Turkey met to discuss potential ventures.
This will be further cemented with new meetings on export-related ventures at the Doha Food and Consumer Fair on late October.
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