The Turkish government is set to announce a number of projects totaling almost TL 80 billion ($21.2 billion) this month, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said Wednesday. He confirmed that the projects, which are part of the government's Project-Based Support System or "super incentives" would be made public at a ceremony later this month. Minister Zeybekci announced that the ministry prepared the decisions of the Council of Ministers under the program of Centers of Attraction and that some of the investment incentives in 23 provinces will be evaluated within this scope of the sixth region incentives.
In his keynote speech at a Turkish Exporters' Assembly meeting where export data for 2017 was announced, Minister Zeybekci said investment approvals under the Project-Based Support System have been completed.
"We tried to finish it by the end of 2017, but we could not. We will announce it in a meeting in January 2018. The investment amount will be close to TL 80 billion," he said. Major investments in petrochemicals, petroleum refinery and energy were expected to be announced as part of the super incentives.
The incentive system is for large-scale investments in the domestic production of raw materials and intermediate goods in which Turkey is a net importer. In the meantime, progress was also made in the Centers of Attraction program for special incentive applications in 23 provinces in eastern and southeastern regions. The program was taken from the Ministry of Development by a decree to be coordinated by the Ministry of Economy. Zeybekci said that besides the sixth region incentive system, the ministry will apply a couple of new incentives in this program and that they have submitted a draft decision to the Council of Ministers.
The minister of economy said he was optimistic about private sector investments in 2018 and highlighted that the super incentive of TL 80 billion will not only accelerate the attraction centers program but also the investment amounts of incentive certificates received in 2017, which exceeded TL 80 billion.
"With these investments, 2018 has shown signs of a year that will see strong private sector investments," he said.
2018 exports goal set at $169B
Turkey's exports saw its second-highest export volume in the republic's history with $157.1 billion in 2017, according to Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, and he set the country's 2018 exports at $169 billion.
Speaking at a news conference in the capital Ankara, Zeybekci said exports surged 10.2 percent during this period.
He also said Turkey's imports rose by 17.9 percent to reach $234.2 billion in 2017.
The rate of exports meeting imports decreased by 4.7 percentage points to 67.1 in 2017 compared with 2016.
The minister said: "Our export target for 2018 is $169 billion but we want to climb over $170 billion." In December, the country's exports also rose 10.1 percent to reach $13.6 billion, according to the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM). Turkey's total exports in November were $14.2 billion, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). Incentive certificates that were drafted by the Economy Ministry jumped 81 percent, he said. He said Turkey's exports rose 9 percent in quantity and 1.5 percent in unit-value, adding: "The unit value of our exports had increased for the first time since 2013." He said Turkey would exceed $157.6 billion in export volume, which is a historical high, in a few weeks.
The country's exports rose in double-digit numbers the last time in 2012, he added. He said the exports of the U.S., EU and China were up by 6.2 percent, 7.4 percent and 7.5 percent, year-on-year, in 2017, respectively.
"In other words, we are at the top of the world economies with an annual increase of export volume by 10.2 percent in 2017," he added. Turkey's enlarged foreign trade, which included all merchandise and services exports and imports, was expected to reach $468 billion, he said.
Zeybekci said: "Turkey's enlarged exports were $211.6 billion and enlarged imports were $256.3 billion in 2017." The percentage of imports covered by exports in the enlarged frame was 82.6 percent in 2017, he noted. Stressing that Turkey's share in the global trade was 0.55 percent in 2002 while it rose to 0.97 percent in 2017, Zeybekci said: "Our goal is to raise this share to the 1.5 percent level." The automotive sector contributed 15.3 percent of the country's total exports in 2017, up from 9.2 percent in 2002, he said. He added that Turkey's agricultural products exports also rose to $16.9 billion in the year from $3.75 billion in 2002. "Our constant goal is to add technology-intensive, design-intensive and brand-intensive sectors to our exports," he said.
Zeybekci blamed the gold and energy sector for the rise in imports, which contributed 58 percent to the increase in Turkey's total imports.
He said Turkey's largest import item, energy, surged 36.9 percent to $37.2 billion due to the rise in energy prices during the year. Last year, the country's gold imports also jumped 147.2 percent to $17.8 billion, he added. He underlined that he expected Turkey's import volume to stand at $237 billion in 2018.