by Burak Akinci
IZMIR, Turkey, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) -- China is well on its way to leave its mark as a partner country on the traditional Izmir trade fair this year in the third largest city of Turkey.
As Turkey's oldest trade fair event since 1927, the 88th edition of the Izmir International Trade Fair, opened its doors last Friday and visitors can visit numerous stands and pavilions of 40 countries until Sept. 15.
It is held under the auspices of the Turkish Trade Ministry and 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, highlighting the good state of their relations, Turkey and China are sharing significant opportunities for reciprocal promotion, further enhancing the economic and commercial relations between the two countries, organizers told Xinhua.
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. After some 1.2 million Chinese visitors came to the fair in 2018, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said she was expecting more this year during her opening speech, while hailing the strengthened China-Turkey relations.
In 2018, trade between Turkey and China climbed to 23.6 billion U.S. dollars, up from just 1.1 billion dollars in 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 the event, Mayor of Izmir Tunc Soyer told Xinhua in an interview that China's efforts in using new technologies in urban development offer a 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 China's 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 in the future a Chinese research center and institute established in his city which could bring Chinese technology, literature and visual arts to Izmir, bonding peoples of the two countries.
A Chinese pavilion was also set up at the fair with the aim of showcasing Chinese enterprises to the Turks.
Zhou Yanquan, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for Chinese Enterprises in Turkey, said for his part that Chinese enterprises attending the fair showed a great enthusiasm and are looking forward to more cooperation with Turkish firms.
"Through the fair, we hope to promote the brand of Chinese companies in Turkey and we hope the Chinese firms in Turkey can serve as a bridge between Turkey and China, contributing to the growing bilateral trade ties," Zhou added.
Tang Shi, head of the Turkish Office of Hytera, a Chinese telecommunications company, said he wishes to bring more advanced technologies to Turkish public through this fair.
"We want our new products and technologies to reach more Turkish people, contributing to the promotion of Turkish-Chinese relations and improving Turkish people's life through our technologies," he said.