Exports of Turkish goods to Italy amounted to $9.46 billion in 2018, while Turkey's imports from the country stood at $10.15 billion.
Aegean Exporters' Association Coordinating Chairman Jak Eskinazi said that foreign trade between Turkey and Italy, which is based on strong historical ties, runs in a balanced way and improves in a healthy way.
Valerio Giorgio, newly appointed Italian Consul in Izmir, paid a visit to the Aegean Exporters' Association. During the visit, Eskinazi said that the two countries have complementary characteristics. Indicating that Turkish and Italian exports and imports are mutually balanced, Eskinazi noted that the current foreign trade balance is 93 percent and continued: "Turkey and Italy have many characteristics in common. The Italians have successful cluster models and we are moving on the same path. For the development of trade between the two countries, we want to develop mutual cooperation in visa procedures for our business people."
Underlining that they want Turkey and Italy to be partners and the economies of the two countries to develop and grow with mutual investments, Giorgio said that they are happy with the balanced bilateral foreign trade. "We are talking about two mature markets growing together. There is balanced trade between the two countries like a union of marriage," he added.
Pointing out that Italy has industrial zones where small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operate intensely, Giorgio said: "Together, we can hold an event to show these examples. We can transfer the success achieved with this model and the experiences in this area to the Turkish business world."
Aegean Leather and Leather Products Exporters' Association Chairman Erkan Zandar stressed that the Turkish leather industry imports machinery, shoe materials and software from Italy, saying: "In return, we export shoes and bags to Italy as finished products. Italian luxury brands buy much from us; they know our production side, but they do not know our design side. We are ready for partnerships in design. We are joining the Garda Fair in Italy [International Exhibition for Footwear & Leather Accessories] with the Turkish National Participation Organization. We expect support from Italian exhibition organizers for better communication."
Aegean Furniture, Paper and Forestry Products Exporters' Association Chairman Cahit Doğan Yağcı indicated that they export paper and forestry products to Italy and that they achieved a 125 percent upsurge in the export of forestry products from the Aegean region to Italy in March 2019. Highlighting that the two countries could form partnerships for furniture exports to third countries, Yağcı said, "We believe that Aegean furniture manufacturers will be in a position to compete with Italian furniture with high quality designs in the upcoming years."
Aegean Ready-to-Wear Clothing Exporters' Association Chairman Burak Sertbaş emphasized that Italy is a major market for the Aegean region's ready-to-wear clothing exports, continuing: "In 2018, our association exported $60 million worth of garment products to Italy. Every company operating in our region has at least one Italian customer. We produce for famous Italian brands." Aegean Olive and Olive Oil Exporters Association Chairman Davut Er indicated that the Italian olive oil industry is very strong around the world, saying that most of the machinery and equipment that they use in olive and olive oil production is of Italian origin.
Calling on the Italians to invest in the Turkish olive and olive oil industry with Turks, Er said: "Italians export packaged olive and olive oil the most in the world. Turks and Italians could make joint investments and export table olives and olive oil to third countries. The Turkish olive and olive oil industry is open to partnership with the Italians."