Hanoi (VNA) – The ASEAN Ankara Committee (AAC) recently had a working session with Secretary General of the Ankara Development Agency (ADA) Arif Sayik, aiming to boost investment and business partnerships between ASEAN countries and the capital city of Turkey.

The AAC, including the ambassadors of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and a representative of the Indonesian Embassy, introduced the potential of the ASEAN market, which has a combined population of more than 640 million and GDP of nearly 2.6 trillion USD. The ASEAN Economic Community, which came into being in late 2015, has helped the 10 member nations connect their markets in terms of trade, investment, services, technology and human resources.

However, cooperation between Turkey and ASEAN countries remains modest and has yet to match potential, they said.

Turkey becoming a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN in August 2017 was a turning point for bilateral relations, they noted, calling on both sides to step up exchanges between their businesses to boost mutual understanding, explore investment and business opportunities, and increase trade.

ADA Secretary General Arif Sayik lauded the AAC’s efforts to raise Turkish firms’ awareness of ASEAN.

He said Ankara has established twin city relations with three capital cities of ASEAN, namely Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia in 1984, Hanoi of Vietnam in 1998 and Bangkok of Thailand in 2012. He welcomed other ASEAN cities’ formation of this relationship with the capital of Turkey.

Ankara has a favourable businesses environment and offers many incentives for foreign enterprises, he said, adding that there are more than 2,200 foreign invested firms from some 100 countries in the city. They are strong in the defence industry, telecoms technology, construction machinery, medical and pharmaceutical technology, furniture and medical tourism.

Under the management of the Turkish Ministry of Development, the ADA is ready to connect ASEAN businesses with Turkish companies, Sayik said.

After the working session, the AAC members visited the Teknokent technology park of the Middle East Technical University and the OSTIM industrial zone, whose managers said they are interested in ASEAN markets and want to seek investment opportunities in Southeast Asia.-VNA