Minister Bolat Sets Ambitious Trade Goal: Turkish and German Business Aim for $60 Billion Trade Volume

Minister Bolat stated that President Erdogan and German President Steinmeier, in their meeting 4 days ago, set the level of $60 billion of trade volume between the two countries as a target for the ministers and the business world, and said, “I hope the valuable business people of Turkiye and Germany will achieve this goal within a few years.”

Minister of Commerce Omer Bolat attended the 20th Anniversary Gala of the German-Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TD-IHK- TATSO) held in Berlin.

Emphasizing that TATSO is a distinguished organization that has been working for 20 years to develop trade and investments between Germany and Turkiye, Bolat thanked TATSO founders and managers for their contributions.

Stating that the world has been going through a very turbulent process for the last 4 years, such as Covid-19, the Ukraine-Russia War and the food and energy crises it caused, Bolat stated that there was a mediocre average growth of 3.1% in the global economy last year.

Bolat emphasized that investment, production, employment and exports continue to increase in the Turkish economy in 2023, and noted that Turkiye’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 4.5% last year.

Stating that Turkiye’s exports increased 7 times in the last 20 years, from $36 billion to $255.5 billion in 2023, Bolat said that in the same period, national income increased 5 times, from $230 billion to $1 trillion 118 billion.

Bolat said, “We increased the per capita income to $13 thousand 110 as of last year.” and emphasized that all of these were achieved in the midst of crises such as the troubles of the world economy and geopolitical tensions.

Bolat explained that Turkiye’s service exports such as tourism, software and health increased approximately sevenfold in the same 20 years, from $14.5 billion in 2002 to $100 billion last year. He stated that Turkiye’s share in world goods exports reached 0.80% from 0.50%.

$60 billion trade volume between Turkiye and Germany

Minister of Trade Omer Bolat said, “Thank God, we have achieved success in being Turkiye’s eighth in the world in iron and steel, sixteenth in the world in machinery, seventh in the world in ceramics, seventh in the world in textiles and clothing, second in the world in contracting, thirteenth in the world in the automotive industry, and fourth in the world in tourism in the last 20 years. We managed to become the number one supplier in the white goods and electronics industry in Europe. While doing these, we received great support and contributions from international investors, especially Germany. We thank them very much.”

Referring to the bilateral investments between Turkiye and Germany, Bolat said, “I am sure that having an annual trade relationship of $50 billion with Turkiye is important for Germany as well as for the German economy.”

Bolat stated that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier showed the trade volume level of $60 billion as a target to the ministers and the business world during their meeting in Ankara 4 days ago. “I hope the valuable business people of Turkiye and Germany will achieve this goal within a few years.”

Stating that German companies established and invested in 8 thousand 41 local companies in Turkiye, Bolat continued as follows.

“Turkiye has received $260 billion of international direct investment in the last 20 years. Germany’s share in this is $25 billion. That is 8.5% of the total. Hopefully this will increase even more in the coming period. The German-Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Industry constitutes the most important bridge between us at this point. Last year alone, $687 million of German direct investment came to our country.”

Updating the Customs Union between Turkiye and the EU

Bolat stated that Turkish citizens living and working in Germany since 1961 have formed the most important bond between the two countries with their “social bond” and noted that they have made a significant contribution to the German economy by providing 500 thousand jobs with the businesses they established in Germany.

Emphasizing that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s constructive and close dialogue with German prime ministers and presidents has ensured good relations between Germany and Turkiye in the political, economic, cultural and social fields, Bolat said that he also visited Germany 3 times in the last 5 months to improve economic relations between the two countries.

Bolat pointed out that Germany played a very key role in Turkiye’s 65-year relationship with the European Union (EU), and said:

“The Customs Union between Turkiye and the EU has been in force and has been implemented successfully for 28 years. It has brought significant benefits to both parties. It has played a major role in increasing the competitiveness of the Turkish economy, Turkish industry, Turkish services sector and Turkish agriculture. As of last year, a trade volume of $211 billion was realized between the two sides. In this trade, $104.5 billion is Turkiye’s exports to the EU and $105.5 billion is the EU’s exports to Turkiye. Germany is the first country that exports the most among the EU countries. The EU is Turkiye’s most important trading partner.”

Stating that some problems have arisen during the implementation process of the Customs Union for 28 years, Bolat said, “The fact that we are not at the table, especially when the EU is making free trade agreements with third countries, puts us at a disadvantage in the economic field. In addition, the free movement of Turkish citizens, which should be for a long period of time as required by the agreements, unfortunately has not been realized so far. There have been serious problems with the Schengen visa for the last few years. Waiting times lasting two to three months even to get an appointment. Very short visa periods for business people, such as one week, one month and one fair period, create serious problems for us. The Customs Union provides for the free movement of goods, but the trucks that will transport those goods are having difficulty getting there. Why? There are transport quotas between countries. Or the drivers who will use those trucks cannot get a visa.”

Source: Trthaber / Prepared by Irem Yildiz

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