The most important topic on the Turkish industry’s agenda in 2021 will be financing, Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) Chairperson Erdal Bahçıvan said Tuesday.
"High financing costs and shrinking financial resources, both in terms of maintaining existing businesses and of creating new investments will be one of the most important sources of stress for the industry,” he said.
The second most important topic is employment, he said, as on the one side there is a high rate of unemployment and then on the other side, there are thousands of industrialists and firms that still cannot find the needed employees.
Commenting on the past year and 2021 expectations, Bahçıvan said that it is a great misfortune that the COVID-19 pandemic coincided with the start of Turkey's "rebalancing and recovery."
The outbreak caused the existing economic balances to turn upside down in 2020 even though the year started on a positive note. He added that overcoming the initial shock of the pandemic has also provided a little more hope during the second quarter of this year.
The industrial sector has been continuing production while taking precautions even in the most severe days of the pandemic, Bahçıvan said. "The sector has very successfully passed the test of maintaining the dynamism of production in all dimensions from logistics to employment, from supply chain to export, at the standards of a normal life.”
Bahçıvan stated that during the pandemic, ISO fulfilled its role acting as a constant bridge between ministries, the governorship of Istanbul, local authorities and industrialists, noting: “As ISO, to prepare ourselves for the post-pandemic process, we also conducted an important report study with the participation of all our sectors and professional committees. Our meetings with the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Industry and Technology on the evolution of these reports continue.”
ISO has also signed “a very comprehensive and almost step-by-step guide on what our industrial enterprises should do in the fight against COVID-19. We also held training meetings covering many sectors from organized industrial zones (OIZ) to different industrial facilities, which are still ongoing."
Slower growth trend
Bahçıvan emphasized that since the early 2000s, the Turkish economy has become accustomed to strong growth trends.
“When we look at the 2000s, except for the crisis year of 2009, we see an average growth rate of 4% to 5% for Turkey,” he said but noted that since 2018 the country has been in a period of low growth.
“Therefore, I think it is better to look at a broader band instead of evaluating it quarterly,” he said, regarding this year’s growth expectations.
What is important is the quality of the growth, Bahçıvan stressed, as Turkey needs a balanced, sustainable, qualified growth model in which the strength of the industry's share is high.
He said Turkey is expected to follow this model in 2021 and beyond.
Noting that it would be impossible to disband economic activity over the outbreak, Bahçıvan said the mutated virus that has emerged in the U.K. is pushing countries to implement new restrictions and measures again.
He said that the European Union is Turkey's most important business partner in every field of cooperation, including business opportunities, tourism, exports and investments.
Adding that the European economy needs Turkey as much as Turkey needs the economic, business and strategic partnership of the EU.