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Turkey and Russia may conclude free trade agreement by year end — Turkish minister

April 22, 2015, 18:18 UTC+3 ANTALYA

Turkey is interested in using national currencies to pay for export and import operations with Russia

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

ANTALYA, April 22 /TASS/. Turkey and Russia are not facing any particularly difficulties in the process of preparing a Turkish-Russian free trade agreement, Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci told TASS on Wednesday.

"We feel extremely positive about the prospect of concluding a free trade agreement, especially in three spheres such as the service sector, investments and state purchases. We do not see any great problems. I hope that all the work will be finished by year’s end," the Turkish minister stressed.

Turkey suggests using national currencies in trade with Russia

The economy minister said Turkey is interested in using national currencies to pay for export and import operations with Russia.

"We earlier agreed with Mr. Ulyukayev to work on the issue of using national currencies in trade relations. We propose that Turkey’s exports to Russia should be paid for with Turkish liras. I hope we’ll sign a corresponding agreement in the near future," Zeybeckci said.

It is also important to protect participants in trade exchange from fluctuations in national currencies, the Turkish economy minister said.

"There is a simple mathematical formula for that. I expect we’ll soon achieve results on this issue," he said.

The potential for expanding trade and economic cooperation between Turkey and Russia is "very great," the minister said.

"In 2014, our exports to Russia fell by 35% while imports declined by 11% I’m sure this is a temporary trend," he said.

Russia and Turkey plan to increase their trade to $100 billion a year, he said.

"I hope we’ll soon sign a free trade agreement. We continue work in this direction."

Turkish investment in Russia has reached $10 billion lately, Zeybeckci said.

The construction of Turkey’s Akkuyu first nuclear power plant "is a major project on the agenda of both countries," he said.

"Turkey will have to invest about $150 billion in the power sector in the next 10 years," he said.

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