Visiting French President Francois Hollande said here Tuesday that France has opened a new era with Turkey and that the two countries seek to boost economic relations. Hollande made the statement while addressing about 400 government officials and businessmen at the Business Forum of Turkey and France in Istanbul. Turkey's President Abdullah Gul was present at the forum. France and Turkey have set the target of increasing annual bilateral trade to 27.3 billion U.S. dollars, said the French president. The figure stood at 14.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, according to Turkish statistics. Gul made an appeal to French businessmen to increase their investments in Turkey. "Turkey's main problem is the current account deficit. In order to solve this problem we need technology transfer and more investments. France tops the list of countries that we want to increase cooperation with." The French investments in Turkey currently stand at 7 billion dollars, while Turkish companies' investments in France total 1.5 billion dollars. French businessmen would be welcomed to invest in the field of energy in particular, Gul said, pledging to provide opportunities for investment in all fields including defense industry, thermic plants and alternative energy sources. Moreover, president Hollande said that Turkey has been achieving great success in economy. "Turkey is developing considerably especially in the fields of automotive and textile," he said, adding that France wants to increase its cooperation with Turkey in transportation, energy and innovation and technology fields. Gul, speaking of Turkey's membership negotiations with the EU, asked Hollande to help lift political blockage in the remaining four chapters. Before the forum, round table meetings were held between the two countries' businessmen on the fields of urban development and infrastructure projects, industrial cooperation and energy projects as well as agriculture and alimentation. Also, during his visit to Istanbul, Hollande delivered a speech at Galatasaray University, where he said that Turkey and France had started a new era of cooperation.