The success story of Turkish exporters in close regions will now be extended further as Turkey will implement a new strategy seeking to boost its exports to remote markets, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday.
Speaking at the Export Champions program of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) in the commercial capital Istanbul, Erdoğan stated countries within a 2,000-kilometer (1,243-mile) range have constituted two-thirds of total exports. "We are now realizing the distant countries strategy with the target of an 8,000-kilometer range. Our goal is to increase our country's share in exports fourfold to countries in distant geographies. Within this scope, we will be revealing in the coming days our action plan to increase our exports to $81.5 billion (TL 704.54 billion) in 17 countries that make up 64% of the world economy with a combined $84.5 trillion volume," Erdoğan said.
To realize this goal, the president said, an export development fund will be created with contributions from the TIM and exporters' unions to help remove the need for exporters to make security deposits. He also said that the country's Eximbank will be restructured and strengthened.
Erdoğan added that a new fair center in Istanbul will be established soon, and the TIM will be included in its administration. "We are determined to make Istanbul, the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa, an expo hub and bring it to the position of the heart of global trade," he said.
He stressed that exports not only mean earning money, and that trade is also not only selling and buying goods, as exporters are Turkey's representatives in cultural and social relations. "As our businesspeople produce, export and provide employment, we will all be able to look to the future with confidence," he said.
The most important leverage for Turkey to become one of the top 10 global economies is its export power, Erdoğan said, adding that the country initially aims to increase the number of exporters, currently standing around 95,000 to 150,000, and later to 300,000.
Turkey reached the critical level of taking a 1% slice of the world export pie, Erdoğan underlined. The rising share of high-tech exports in the nation’s exports, the growing number of exporters with over $1 billion in annual exports, and more and more jobs in exporting companies all show that Turkey is on the right path, he said.
Last year, despite the pandemic, Turkey showed a good performance, and the country is in a better position this year by reaching historical high figures monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually, Erdoğan said.
"Our 12-month exports have surpassed the $200 billion level for the first time and hit a record $211 billion as of Sept. 17," the president said.
He told in August, the country's exports rose 52% year-on-year to hit the highest August figures in the republic's history at $19 billion. "I hope the country will also reach the $20 billion export level in September," he added.
What's more important is that the export-import coverage ratio has hit 85% level – which had dropped to 55% in the past – an important indicator of how healthy the Turkish economy and exports have grown, Erdoğan said.
Trade Minister Mehmet Muş underlined that Turkey will focus more on export financing in the upcoming period and seeks to eradicate the issue of the current account deficit.
Muş said this would be ensured through a contribution of goods and services exports and that a current account surplus would help curb foreign currency stress, rising costs and inflation.
The minister noted that Turkey’s exports have continued to grow this year despite global challenges thanks to the exporters’ increased production capacity, credibility, and quality products.
“As the government, we are working to remove all the obstacles before the exporters,” he underlined. He also stressed that the country focused on increasing the range of exporters from neighboring to faraway countries.
TIM Chairperson Ismail Gülle stated that exports in 2021 are expected to stand at $210 billion and reach $300 billion by 2026. Total annual Turkish exports in 1980 were $3 billion and this number is now reached in a mere two days, Gülle noted.
The TIM chairperson noted that the Turkey Logistics Portal, a project aiming to bridge exporters and the logistics sector to cope with the container crisis experienced on the global scale, will be introduced next week.
He also mentioned the country’s Green Action Plan, saying that the assembly contributes to it and prepared a road map with a motto of “Producing for the world without consuming the world.”
The landmark action plan was announced in July and includes 32 objectives and 81 actions in nine categories to power Turkey’s transition to a more sustainable, greener economy in line to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Touching on the services sector, Gülle said the sector was one of the most affected by the pandemic but Turkey increased its services exports during the first seven months of 2021 by 46% to $24.8 billion.
“Our target is to exceed $100 billion in services exports,” he added.
At the event, leading exporter companies were presented with awards by Erdoğan, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu, Treasury and Finance Minister Lütfi Elvan and Trade Minister Muş.
Automaker Ford, a joint venture of the American automotive giant and top Turkish conglomerate Koç Holding, was named Turkey’s largest exporter, followed by two other carmakers, Toyota Engine Manufacturing Turkey and Oyak Renault, the joint venture of leading French carmaker and the Turkish military pension fund Oyak.
Two other Turkey-based carmakers, namely Tofaş of Italian Fiat and Koç, and Mercedes-Benz Türk, took the eighth and 10th top exporters spots, respectively.
Home appliance and white goods producers Vestel and Arçelik were the fourth and sixth top Turkish exporters. Kibar Foreign Trade, TGS Foreign Trade and the country's biggest company and refinery Tüpraş were other top exporters with leading positions in metals, textiles and oil sectors, respectively.
According to the TIM's top 1,000 exporters study, which was also released during the event, their combined exports were $92.6 billion with a 54.6% share in total exports. These companies, of which 57.5% are located in the northwestern Marmara region with Istanbul taking the lion's share with 426 companies, provided some 1 million jobs.
Domestic companies made up 78.9% of the top 1,000 exporters, which carried out 59.3% of their total exports.
The automotive industry constituted 23.8% of the top 1,000 exporter companies, followed by chemicals with 10.7%, steel with 10.5%, garment and ready-wear clothing with 9.4% and electronics with 8.4%.