The 19th edition of Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association’s (MÜSIAD) biennial MÜSIAD EXPO is projected to create trade links worth $5 billion (TL 93.1 billion) through cooperation and investment meetings, according to the chairperson of Türkiye’s top business association.
Mahmut Asmalı, delivering an opening speech at the fair that kicked off Wednesday and will run through Nov. 5, said the event aims to bring Türkiye closer to reaching its 2023 export targets – which were set as $300 billion by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – while taking the country’s production and export vision to a much higher level.
Stating that they are holding a global organization where they will open up to new markets and establish dynamic cooperation in the triangle of production, investment and export, Asmalı said, “We aim to create a business connection of approximately $5 billion with the cooperation and investment projections to be realized within the framework of MÜSIAD EXPO.”
The fair will host purchasing delegations from 60 countries, he said, adding that it will be instrumental in establishing different cooperation in both production and foreign trade processes.
“We strongly believe that the meetings to be held within the framework of MÜSIAD EXPO 2022, which will host exhibitors and visitors from 24 different sectors, will yield positive results,” Asmalı underlined.
Apart from the purchasing delegations, the fair is projected to see over 100,000 participants from 124 countries.
The four-day expo seeks to serve as a trade diplomacy platform that will feature multiple events, including the 26th International Business Forum (IBF), to be held under the theme “Food Safety and Preservation of Generations.”
The expo will also host ambassadors from Developing-8 (D-8) countries who will come together for a summit that will be held for the first time as part of the expo. Alongside Türkiye, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria and Pakistan are members of the D-8 based in Istanbul.
Trade Minister Mehmet Muş, also addressing the event, said Türkiye’s service exports reached $52.5 billion, with an increase of 66%, in the first eight months of this year.
“I hope that the threshold of $100 billion will be exceeded in a very short time,” Muş said.
Under its new economic program, dubbed Türkiye Economy Model, the Turkish government prioritizes low-interest rates to boost exports, production and investments, aiming to lower inflation and flip the country’s chronic current account deficits to a surplus.
Muş said that overall exports, which contributed positively to the Turkish economy’s growth of 11.4% in 2021, increased by 33% last year, reaching $225.2 billion.
The strong momentum in the economy continues this year despite global challenges like the Russia-Ukraine war and subsequent energy crises, Muş added.
An average of 7.5% growth was recorded in the first half of the year, he said, adding: “We are pleased that nearly half of this growth is export-based, and thus exports continue to be the locomotive of growth.”
He noted that the share of valuable non-governmental organizations in the business world, such as the MÜSIAD, is undoubtedly great in the performance displayed in foreign trade.
In his address, Nureddin Nebati, treasury and finance minister, elaborated on the government’s new economic model, which he said began to be understood by their international counterparts.
The program will help Türkiye will reach its goals “day by day” and the outcome will become more visible once the current headwinds affecting the whole world, like the energy crisis, are overcome, Nebati said.
Nebati said that the annual current account deficit in the country stood at $40.9 billion as of this August, showcasing the impact of the soaring energy costs. However, the minister said the balance posted an annual surplus of $41.2 billion when energy and gold are excluded.
“In the coming period, with the increase in our export and tourism revenues,” Nebati said, and the developments like commissioning of the natural gas discovered in the Black Sea will significantly “strengthen our hand.”
Nebati said that they continue to successfully implement the investment, employment, production and export-oriented growth policy.
“As of August 2022, we have increased our total employment to 31 million people, which is the highest level in the history of our Republic of Türkiye.”
“Our country has broken monthly export records in the last 22 months,” he said, adding that the 12-month rolling exports reached an all-time high of $252.6 billion this September.
“We are also revising our forecasts for tourism upwards. We aim to generate $44 billion in tourism revenue,” he said.
Nebati underlined that the fight against inflation would continue until they reduce it to single digits.
“Thanks to the inclusive measures we have taken, we will permanently get rid of the scourge of inflation in our country with the positive contribution of the normalization in global prices and the improvement in expectations,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) Chairperson Şekib Avdagiç said MÜSİAD fairs were platforms that help display and promoted domestic production.
“We can follow the development of domestic production by following MÜSIAD fairs,” Avdagiç said. “Therefore, we can easily say that the structure and history of production in Türkiye have changed with the MÜSIAD members taking responsibility.”
“Active involvement in production has brought a new vision and capability to the Turkish economy, and MÜSIAD has provided this,” he said.
Expressing that he sees the fair as a barometer of the Turkish economy, Avdagiç said, “The heart of the economy beats here. In an environment where world economies talk about the recession, the participants of the MÜSIAD EXPO talk about production and trade. They put increasing global trade on their agenda.”