The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce has signed an economic cooperation agreement with the Turkish Chambers of the Aegean Region to forge bi-lateral trade relations between the two chambers.
"Trade relations between Turkey and Israel have accelerated over the past few years," said Uriel Lynn, President of the FICC. "Between 2002 and 2005 trade relations between Israel and Turkey increased by 79 percent to $2.1 billion in 2005."
Exports to Turkey grew by 13% to $919 million, while imports saw a rise of 22% to $1.2b. Lynn added that there are currently about 152 Israeli companies investing tens of millions of dollars in Turkey.
The agreement was signed during the visit of Nedim Kalpaklioglu, deputy chairman of Aegean Region Chamber of Industry (EBSO) Executive Board to Israel, who headed the delegation of 20 Turkish companies at the "Agritech 2006" conference, which opened its gates in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
The trade agreement was established to seek out ways in which economic cooperation and trade can promote regional economic integration between Israel and the Aegean region.
The EBSO counts almost 6,048 companies in 51 different sectors. The region includes the city of Izmr, the third largest city of commerce in Turkey and a central port city, which provides 70.3% of all agricultural production and 10% of all employment.
The Port of Izmr has a capacity of 12.5m tons, where 55% of all transportation in imports and exports takes place. The major sectors in the Aegean region are agriculture, industry, mining and tourism. Global companies investing in the region include Philip Morris, General Motors, Coca Cola, Samsung and Tetrapak.
Turkey has been an integral part of a thriving Mediterranean economy, a crucial land bridge between Europe and Asia, a trade crossroads, and an essential warm water maritime link for Ukraine and Russia.
Among the areas in which Israel and Turkey have enhanced their cooperation in recent years are water and energy.