TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu: “We are entering all global markets with Turkish goods”

Speaking at the Turkey Century Summit on Exports organized by Albayrak Media under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they closed the previous year with a double record in exports, despite weakened global demand and earthquake disasters referred to as the disaster of the century.

Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), emphasized that TOBB supports exporters in many areas, from visa procedures to rapid passage through foreign customs with the TIR Carnet guarantee.

Pointing out Turkey’s highest product and market diversity in its region, Hisarcıklıoğlu highlighted, “Turkey has become one of the leading countries in the world in terms of the number of products it competitively produces and market diversity. This product and market diversity reflected in foreign trade data is Turkey’s wealth. The business capacity we have built in these lands is an indicator of Turkish entrepreneurship. The upcoming period is the time to demonstrate this success in advanced technology and high value-added products.”

“Becoming one of the countries developing technology in electric and smart mobility” Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the export of high-tech products in manufacturing, which was $6 billion in 2019, exceeded $9 billion in 2023, saying:

“We need pioneering ecosystem key technology investments to increase this figure. We have achieved a beautiful example of this under the auspices of our President with Togg. We have become one of the countries developing technology in electric and smart mobility. As we complete the first year of our mass production these days, we are proud to have introduced approximately 30,000 vehicles to our people. No electric car has reached the figure of 30,000 in a year it was launched. With the support of our Ministry, we will start exporting to Europe next year. Selling Turkish cars to Germans in Germany will also be a second source of pride for us. Moreover, our high-tech exports will grow exponentially.”

Highlighting the importance of Turkey’s progress, Hisarcıklıoğlu mentioned that 40 years ago, 95% of the $3 billion export was agricultural products.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that today Turkey has become a country competing globally, saying, “We have reached $270 billion in exports. Turkey is now an export giant. We have become a country selling industrial products instead of agricultural products. We can sell goods to every kind of market in the world. God has not given us oil and natural gas but has given us tremendous entrepreneurial spirit. Thanks to this entrepreneurial spirit, we enter all global markets with Turkish goods. The product and market diversity of the Turkish economy is its strength. I know that there will be no country where Turkish products are not recognized and our exporters do not step foot.”

“We must make moves to make brain drain attractive to our country” Mustafa Gültepe, President of the Turkey Exporters Assembly (TIM), stated that they started the second century with the vision and goal of bringing Turkey into the top 10 countries in exports. Gültepe emphasized that the European Union (EU) is Turkey’s largest export market, saying, “We export 41% of our exports to EU countries. When we consider other European countries, this rate exceeds 55%.”

Gültepe emphasized a similar situation for the Middle East and North Africa, with North America in third place.

Especially highlighting the significance of the United States as a significant trading partner despite its distant geography, Gültepe said, “Despite customs barriers, it is the second country we export to most after Germany. With the right moves, it is a huge market where we can reach a trade volume of $100 billion. In 2023, out of our $255.8 billion exports, we made $206 billion, or 80%, to these three markets.”

Gültepe emphasized the need to utilize the opportunities of technology, design, innovation, branding, and green transformation, stating that the importance of agricultural products will increase further in the new century and it should be approached strategically.

Stressing the importance of addressing exports with a coordinated, comprehensive approach involving all parties and state wisdom, Gültepe said, “First of all, we should look together at ways to keep our trained human resources in this country. We should even make moves to make brain drain attractive to our country. We must take these steps to increase value-added production.”

Gültepe explained that friendly and allied countries face various trade barriers.

Stating that Kapıkule is the most important gateway for Turkey to Europe, Gültepe said, “Due to slow procedures on the Bulgarian side, we cannot adequately utilize our ‘fast service’ advantage. In the coming years, perhaps due to the Green Deal, our trucks may have more difficulty crossing beyond Kapıkule. We need to calculate all these from today and develop common policies with all stakeholders.”

“We must increase high-tech production and make these products global brands” Nail Olpak, President of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), stated that Turkey will leave its mark on many areas in the new century with the leaps it has made and that one of these areas is exports.

Reminding that Turkey’s share in global trade has reached 1%, Olpak emphasized that Turkey is now the world’s production center, expressing that Turkey looks to the future with advantages in infrastructure, transportation, and logistics investments.

Referring to the transformations in global trade, Olpak emphasized the importance of understanding these transformations and their reflections to contribute to Turkey’s export vision.

Olpak stated that Turkey has a serious production capacity and flexible exports, saying, “We see that the share of high-tech and value-added production in our exports is not at the desired level. We must do this by increasing high-tech production and making them global brands.”

Olpak mentioned that increasing new types of trade and transit trade are important topics in the export vision of Turkey.

Highlighting the prominence of service exports among new types of trade, Olpak said, “Our traditional trade was to produce and sell goods. Service exports have started to gain importance in today’s world. It is clear that service exports and services that earn foreign exchange will become even more important. New types of trade are not limited to the distinction between goods and services. Electronic commerce and export are becoming important types of trade.”

Olpak said that they have contributed to the amendment of the law regarding the support of transit trade as DEİK and that the improvements to be made in the law have an important place in Turkey’s export vision.

Touching upon the correct financing of exports and export incentives, Olpak said, “I think that a performance and commitment model in export incentives should be evaluated together. By always developing our export vision with holistic perspectives, I believe that we will create beauties for our country.”

Nurettin Canikli, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Albayrak Group, stated that despite the incentives, the share of high-tech product exports in exports today is around 3%, stressing that this rate should be raised to 15% in the medium term and then to 25%.

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