By Gokhan Ergocun, Tuba Sahin and Dilara Zengin
Turkey and the EU will discuss economic relations in a high-level meeting this December, Turkish deputy prime minister said Friday.
The meeting will be held on Dec. 7-8, said Mehmet Simsek, during his speech at the Turkish Export Week event in Istanbul.
He added: “The update of the Custom Union agreement will be the most important issue [which will be discussed during the meeting].”
Also, Simsek said, in the next one and a half month summits on transport and energy will be held.
He said that the upward trend of economic growth in the Euro Zone -- Turkey’s main trading partner -- and the recovery in global trade volume was good news for the country.
Simsek said that inflation rate in Turkey will decrease in the medium term with the backing of a tight monetary policy.
"We expect that inflation rate would decline to about 8 percent in the first quarter of next year," Simsek said.
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, Turkey's annual inflation rate rose 11.90 percent in October
Tackling inflation, unemployment
"The inflation rate in Turkey temporarily crossed double digits due to currency shocks in recent years," Simsek said.
He added that oil prices are another reason for the rising inflation.
Simsek said he was willing to support Turkish exporters, as increasing exports will steer the country out of its current situation.
“Europe is our main market. Our second biggest markets are Middle East and North Africa. However, we should also focus on developing countries that are gaining grounds,” Simsek said.
He added that exporters should concentrate on countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, Mexico and Indonesia.
The share of high and middle technology products in Turkey’s total export should be at least 70 percent, Simsek said.
He said that the recovery in tourism sector, rise in employment rate in Turkey, and the global rise in oil prices will contribute to domestic and foreign demands in the country.
Speaking about the current unemployment rate in Turkey, now more than 10 percent, he said, will decrease in the next three years as the economy grows.
He added that Turkey’s debt-to-GDP ratio will decrease to 27.5 percent by 2020 from its current level of 28.5 percent this year. In developing countries this figure is 47 percent, he said.