Minister: Trade Volume Contributed by 18 Free Zones Amounted to $31 Billion

Minister Bolat: Last year, the trade volume contributed by our country’s 18 free zones to our economy amounted to $31 billion. Trade Minister Ömer Bolat stated, ‘Last year, the export revenue we obtained from our 18 free zones reached $12.7 billion. The trade volume contributed by our country’s 18 free zones to our economy last year amounted to $31 billion.’ Speaking at the opening of the West Anatolia Free Zone established in Bergama district, İzmir, Minister Bolat emphasized that this was Turkey’s 19th free zone. He said, ‘Soon all the factories here will be completed. In this beautiful Bergama, located right in the middle of renewable energy with environmentally friendly investments, it will contribute greatly to our country’s economy in terms of production, investment, employment, and exports.’

Minister Bolat recalled that the first free zone in Turkey was opened by Turgut Özal in Mersin in 1985.

Stating that $7.5 billion worth of investments have been made in 18 free zones so far, Bolat said, ‘There are 100,000 employments in free zones. 2,111 companies operate in these 18 free zones. Approximately 20% of the employment is provided by ESBAŞ. In this respect, we believe that the Bergama Free Zone will also be successful. 548 of these 2,111 companies are foreign companies. We also believe that foreign companies will show great interest here.’

Bolat explained that as the ministry responsible for the establishment, preparation, and operation of free zones, they work in a highly coordinated manner with both operating companies and companies in free zones.

‘Last year, the export revenue we obtained from our 18 free zones reached $12.7 billion,’ said Bolat.

Stressing their importance on free zone investments, Bolat added:

‘Last year, the trade volume contributed by our country’s 18 free zones to our economy amounted to $31 billion. More than a third, approximately 35%, of this was obtained from export revenue. Intensive research and development, production of high value-added innovation and technology-oriented goods and services are among our main goals. Both production, exports, and earning foreign currency for our country are among the most important goals in the establishment of these free zones.’

Bolat said they had increased Turkey’s goods exports from $36 billion to $256 billion, services exports from $14 billion to $100 billion, and national income from $230 billion to $1.118 trillion in the Century of Turkey.

Bolat stated that they continue to work to make Turkey one of the top 10 economies in the world and asked for support for the candidates of the People’s Alliance in the March 31 elections, Hamza Dağ for Mayor of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality and Sadık Doğruer for Mayor of Bergama.

İzmir Governor Süleyman Elban said it was important to designate such an area for industrialists and wished the region’s businessmen well.

Hamza Dağ, the People’s Alliance candidate for Mayor of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, said that Bergama had gained a free zone that would reveal its potential, where 120 companies would operate and 20,000 people would work.

Dağ, emphasizing İzmir’s rightful place in international trade with its strategic location, historical and cultural heritage, and rich natural resources, said, ‘Our aim is to make İzmir not only a city where our citizens enjoy themselves, but also a city that is self-sufficient with its agriculture, tourism, and industry, and one of the driving forces of Turkey. We believe that our projects will not only make İzmir and our region the center of trade but also a cultural and touristic center. We believe that when we bring our dreams to life, both domestic and foreign investors will line up to invest. We believe that as we breathe life into these projects, the youth of this city will no longer have to migrate to other cities to find jobs.’

ESBAŞ Executive Board Chairman, BASBAŞ CEO and Deputy Chairman Dr. Faruk Güler said ESBAŞ would transfer its 35 years of experience in free zone management to BASBAŞ.

Güler stated that BASBAŞ was established on approximately 2.5 million square meters of land and that they had been conducting infrastructure work in the region for 2 years. He added:

‘Taking into account the needs of 30 years, we prepared 1.5 million square meters for our factories. All public buildings, including our customs gate, have been completed. They are open for use. Factory constructions have started. We also have factory constructions that are almost completed. Our first factory will start production at the beginning of May. We will have a trade volume of $4 million. We will have exports of $2 billion. There will be approximately $2 billion in foreign and domestic investments. These are all coming. With the commissioning of the factories in 2024, we will make approximately $20 million in exports. 500 people are employed in this region. By the end of 2025, we will realize exports of $75 million and provide employment for 1000 people.’

The opening ceremony was attended by Bilal Saygılı, AK Party İzmir Provincial Chairman; Mahmut Özgener, Chairman of İzmir Chamber of Commerce (İZTO); Işınsu Kestelli, Chairman of İzmir Commodity Exchange; Ender Yorgancılar, President of Aegean Region Chamber of Industry; Jak Eskinazi, Coordinator President of Aegean Exporters’ Associations; Hakan Koştu, Mayor of Bergama; and representatives of the business world.”

source: prepared by Melisa Beğiç

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