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Visa, permit problems prevent development of Turkish-Swiss trade ties.

ANKARA (C\u304 HAN)- Lingering problems concerning visa and residence permit issues have been hampering the development of Swiss-Turkish trade relations, an advocacy group representing exporters has said.

Today's Zaman has learned that during the visit to Turkey last week of Johann Schneider-Ammann, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (T\u304 M) complained that Turkish exporters and businesspeople continue to face problems obtaining visas and residence permits in Switzerland. At their meeting T\u304 M officials acknowledged that there is no particular policy pursued by Swiss authorities to obstruct exports from Turkey, but if those issues are addressed, commercial relations between Turkey and his country can be improved at a much faster pace.

Turkey's relationship with Switzerland in many areas, including trade, has significantly improved in the last decade, in which the bilateral trade volume increased considerably, from $1.1 billion in 2000 to $6.5 billion in 2011. Yet it is highly unbalanced since Swiss exports to Turkey accounted for slightly more than $5 billion of that last year.

Some 120,000 Turkish citizens live in Switzerland, and since 1992 Switzerland has allowed dual citizenship. According to a report published by the Swiss Immigration Office, the number of individuals who hold both Turkish and Swiss citizenship is around 45,000.

Nearly 4,000 Turkish citizens living in Switzerland are employers and provide direct employment for about 18,000 people. While the unemployment rate in the country is 2.6 percent, the unemployment rate increases to 7.5 percent among Turkish citizens living in Switzerland. Nearly half of the Turks working in Switzerland are employed in the service sector. Metal production and construction are the other two main fields of employment for them.

The level of integration of Turkish citizens into Swiss society is higher than that of Turks living in other European countries. Although there is no Turkish deputy in the federal parliament of Switzerland, there are nine deputies of Turkish origin in several cantonal and local parliaments, and there are 13 Turkish origin provincial council members. C\u304 HAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Mar 28, 2012
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