Turkey and Malta are aiming to reach a target of $1 billion bilateral trade volume, Turkish foreign minister said on Friday.

“We are aiming to reach $600 million possibly this year, but our first target is $1 billion,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a joint news conference with his Maltese counterpart Carmelo Abela in the capital Valletta.

“We can easily reach that [target],” Cavusoglu said, adding that bilateral trade volume was doubled in 2017.

He recalled that last year was the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and appreciated the Malta’s Embassy in Ankara -- which was opened last year -- for contributions it has made to strengthen the bilateral ties.

Cavusoglu also said that Turkey and Malta were important tourism centers, and said the two countries needed to accelerate joint efforts in many areas, including energy, transportation, tourism and infrastructure.

Abela, for his part, said the two countries wanted to strengthen their trade ties, along with their political ties.

“We appreciate the effort Turkey shows for refugees,” Abela said.