January 31, 2011 / 1:43 PM / 9 years ago

Turkey summons firms to discuss Egypt, Tunisia

* Turkish trade with Egypt worth $3 billion

* Investments in Egypt near $2 billion

ANKARA, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Turkey’s foreign trade minister has summoned companies that do business with Egypt and Tunisia to discuss measures to limit the impact of political upheaval there, he said on Monday.

Fast-growing Turkey, which has annual trade volume of some $4 billion with the two countries, has set up crisis desks at its Foreign Trade Directorate to deal with the issue, State Minister Zafer Caglayan said in a statement.

Caglayan will meet with businessmen active in the two countries in Ankara on Tuesday.

“We will prepare a road map on what can be done after listening to the ideas and concerns of businessmen,” he said.

More than 6,500 Turkish companies export to Egypt and some 205 companies have investments there worth nearly $2 billion, providing employment for more than 50,000 people.

Turkish contractors have projects worth some $600 million in Egypt, building industrial complexes and shops, while Turkish companies built the new terminals at Cairo airport.

Turkish investments in Egypt were currently on hold due to the political tensions there, the head of the Foreign Economic Relations Board Rona Yircali told a meeting on Monday.

Exports to Egypt last year were $2.3 billion and imports $926 million, while exports to Tunisia amounted to $715 million in 2010 and imports were $280 million.

Some 1,500 Turks, both tourists and expatriates, have been evacuated from Egypt in response to the unrest there as protesters seek to topple President Hosni Mubarak. (Reporting by Ozge Ozbilgin and Evrim Ergin, writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Ron Askew)

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