Turkey's finance minister said an economic package to boost the country's economy was due to complete but that moves to taxes was not on the agenda, the Anatolian Agency reported on Tuesday. (UPDATED)
Major incentives regarding foreign and domestic investors' sizeable investments were being studied within the package, but a tax cut was not on the agenda, Kemal Unakitan said, when asked whether the government would consider a tax cut plan like Britain.
"The package is soon to be completed. But don't touch to the taxes we collect," he said adding that Turkey needs to continue its fiscal discipline in order to move away from the continuing global turmoil.
"We will brief Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan about the package," he also said.
Erdogan had recently said that the government was preparing a package to help the economy by easing access to credit and boosting employment.
Unakitan also said the government would cut the current 15 percent Private Communication Tax in the broadband price to 5 percent.
BOOSTING COOPERATION WITH S. ARABIA
Unakitan attended a meeting of a joint economic committee between Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
It was important to enhance cooperation with Saudi Arabia, Turkey's finance minister said during the meeting.
"In these sensitive days, it is more important to boost cooperation and increase trade between our two countries," Unakitan was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying.
He announced the trade volume between two countries around $4.6 billion in the first nine months of 2008, with a 69 percent rise over the same period of 2007.
The Turkish minister forecast the year-end bilateral trade volume around $5 billion, and expressed determination to raise it to $15 billion in the medium term.
Unakitan said Turkey should sign a free trade agreement of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf as soon as possible, and the agreement on trade of goods should also be concluded.
The Turkish finance minister proposed that a preferential trade system should be set up among the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Anatolian Agency reported.
Unakitan said trade volume could be raised by mutual investments, and welcomed Saudi Arabia's wish to invest in agriculture industry in Turkey.
"We can also invest and cooperate in tourism, education and health," he also said, adding that Turkish contractors could take part in the economy city project of King Abdallah.
The Turkish minister also said that opening the Istanbul-Mecca railway would improve trade relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Also speaking in the meeting, Saudi Arabia's Transportation Minister Jubarah Suraysri said his country could sign cooperation agreements with Turkey on maritime, tourism and fight against terrorism.