By OSAMA HABIB
“LOOK at Turkey and Syria now. Both countries signed a free trade agreement and as a result people and goods move along the borders without any barriers. It is time that Lebanon and other Arab states create a trade zone,” Erdogan told hundreds of participants who gathered to attend the 5th Turkish-Arab Economic Forum in Istanbul which was organized by Al-Iktissad wa Alamal Group.
Some of the officials told The Daily Star that the free trade agreement between Lebanon and Turkey may be signed during Erdogan’s visit to Lebanon in few months.
They added that Lebanon and Turkey will benefit from a free trade agreement as prices of commodities will fall drastically.
Hariri said the course Turkey and the Arab states took would lead to economic prosperity for both sides.
“We in Lebanon are seeking to bolster Lebanese-Turkish ties in all fields with special emphasis on the economy. I have signed several successful trade agreements with Turkey during my last visit to Istanbul. The most important was an agreement to cancel all types of visas between both countries. The other important impact for this agreement was the rise in the number of Turkish visitors to Lebanon in the past few months,” Hariri said.
Hariri added that he is looking forward to Erdogan’s visit to Lebanon in October this year, when several agreements are expected to be signed between both countries.
He added that the improvement of ties between the Lebanese and Turkish private sectors is also very crucial for both countries.
“Lebanon now enjoys tremendous stability thanks to the national unity government which groups all parties in the country. We want this national unity Cabinet to carry out its duties and revitalize the economy. We are all committed to the ministerial statement and especially what concerns reforms,” the prime minister said.
Hariri also denounced the Israeli attack against the fleet of ships that was trying to break the
siege on the Gaza Strip, adding that once again Tel Aviv had violated international laws.
Daily Star, Lebanon