Photo: VCG

 China is well on its way to leaving its mark as a partner country at the traditional Izmir trade fair this year, held in Turkey’s third largest city.

The Izmir International Trade Fair is Turkey’s oldest trade fair and was first held in 1927. Its 88th iteration opened its doors last Friday, and welcomes attendees to visit numerous stands and pavilions from 40 countries and regions until September 15.

It is held under the auspices of the Turkish Trade Ministry and is hosted by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, Turkey’s third-largest city and major port dubbed the “pearl of the Aegean” for its beautiful features and welcoming population.

This year, Turkey and China are sharing significant opportunities for reciprocal promotion, further enhancing the economic and commercial ties between the two countries, organizers told the Xinhua News Agency.

The Trade Ministry welcomed high-level delegations from many countries around the world at the annual trade event. On the sidelines of the fair, Turkey and China signed two memorandums of understanding to boost bilateral trade.

Some 60 Chinese companies are attending the event. 1.2 million Chinese visitors went to the fair in 2018, and Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said during her opening speech that she was expecting more this year, while hailing the strengthened China-Turkey relations.

In 2018, trade between Turkey and China climbed to $23.6 billion, up from just $1.1 billion 2001, she stressed.”China has become Turkey’s third-biggest trading partner after Russia and Germany,” the Minister added.

The fair also includes activities such as concerts, plays, movie screenings, street shows and interviews.

During an interview at the event, Mayor of Izmir Tunc Soyer told Xinhua that China’s efforts in using new technologies in urban development offer valuable experience for Izmir, which is open to projects with Chinese companies in the fields of transportation, energy and waste disposal.

“There is great partnership potential between Izmir and Chinese cities and companies. The potential is really there regarding technologies and intelligent cities; we have to grab and use it,” he said.

Soyer also pointed out that the hub port project in Izmir’s Candarli district could yield a profitable investment for China, within the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

“I am convinced that Izmir will be a locomotive in Turkey’s partnership with China, I hope sincerely that we will improve this cooperation during the fair through signing more business deals which would be beneficial for both parties,” Soyer added.

He also indicated that he was keen to see a Chinese research center and institute established in his city in the future, which could bring Chinese technology, literature and visual arts to Izmir, bonding the two countries’ people.

A Chinese pavilion was also set up at the fair with the aim of showcasing Chinese enterprises to the Turkish people.

Zhou Yanquan, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for Chinese Enterprises in Turkey, said for his part that Chinese enterprises attending the fair showed great enthusiasm and are looking forward to further cooperation with Turkish firms.

“Through the fair, we hope to promote the brands of Chinese companies in Turkey and we hope that Chinese firms in Turkey can serve as a bridge between Turkey and China, contributing to the growing bilateral trade ties,” Zhou added.