01/17/2019, 09.42
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Gulf crisis fuels trade between Doha and Ankara: 2 billion in 2018

The increase over the previous year is 54% and is "destined to rise" on the back of Qatar’s isolation by Arab world over dispute with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Among the goods traded Turkish food and construction materials for Qatar and natural gas and aluminum for Turkey.

Doha (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Bilateral trade between Qatar and Turkey grew in 2018 and, according to forecasts, could reach a record figure of 2 billion dollars with a 54% increase on the previous year. The data shows once more how Ankara has now become a strategic partner for Doha, marginalized by the other Gulf States and the Arab world following the controversy - which broke out in 2017 and still unresolved - with Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at the Turkish trade fair that began yesterday in Doha, Ankara's deputy finance minister Osman Dinçbaş said that Qatar is one of the most important societies with the best growth prospects. The figure of about two billion dollars in bilateral trade reached in 2018 is "destined to grow".

Last year Qatar promised a package of economic projects, investments and deposits for Turkey worth $ 15 billion. It includes a currency exchange for three billion, with the purpose of consolidating the Turkish lira which is going through a serious period of crisis. Dinçbaş said that "part of the 15 billion" has already arrived, without specifying the figure.

The only official data regards the first 10 months of last year, with a total trade of 1.7 billion dollars; a figure in net growth, considering that the volume of business in the same period of 2017 stopped at 1.4 billion. Among the goods being traded are Turkish food and construction materials for Qatar and natural gas and aluminum for Turkey.

Abu Issa Holdings, one of the leading food retailers in Qatar, recorded a 25% growth in mushroom brands of Turkish origin. The fair in progress in these days is also an opportunity to present Turkish pasta and honey brands, among the best sellers since the introduction of the embargo having replaced the Saudi and Emirati products. "We will continue to trade with Turkey," says Abu Issa, who adds that Ankara is "not a replacement. This should have happened a long time ago — we discovered some amazing products and the quality is superior to what we would get from there".

According to some analysts and experts, close Qatari-Iranian relations are the cause of the clash between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In fact, Qatar and Iran recently reiterated their mutual economic and diplomatic support. Others blame the rivalry between Doha and Abu Dhabi among Sunnis for the crisis.

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