TURKEY

Turkey to take measures for Algeria's import halt

TURKEY TO TAKE MEASURES FOR ALGERIAS IMPORT HALT

The Turkish economy minister said on Wednesday he will seek to resolve an import halt Algeria had put on 24 products, including plastics and food, from Turkey.

Nihat Zeybekci said that while Algeria has the opportunity to enter Turkey via a free trade agreement with the EU, the same is not the case with Turkey.

Speaking to journalists in Ankara, he said that Turkey did not have a trade agreement with Algeria, adding that he hoped to sort out the issue after talks with the EU.

Zeybekci said that the Customs Union Agreement -- which envisions three phases for Turkey's accession to the EU common market -- should be updated.

"We had demanded that Turkey should have an autonomous agreement with countries that the EU has signed free trade agreements with. Now it has been proven that we were right," he said.

Zeybekci added that trade between Qatar and Turkey could be facilitated by using Iran as a route.

"We use air and sea routes for shipments to Qatar. The only alternative on the land route is passing Turkish trucks through two ports of Iran and crossing [the sea] by Ro-Ro ships," he said.

He said that the sea route takes 11 days, while the land route takes 14 days. "But in a recent experiment we reduced this duration to nine days, and aim to decrease it to five or six days."

He said during talks with Iran a verbal agreement had been reached to avoid red tape and not wait for transit passes into Qatar. "In a few days a formal agreement will be signed."

In early June, five Arab countries -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen -- abruptly cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Qatar government denied the accusation, calling the blockade as unjustified and a violation of international law.

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