Considered an "Asian tiger" with its high-growth economy and one of the rising stars of the Far Eastern economy, Taiwan wants to develop its commercial cooperation with Turkey.
Despite limited diplomatic relations between Turkey and Taiwan, commercial relations have been generally maintaining a regular course. The trade volume between the two countries exceeded $1 billion for the first time in 2004 and reached $2.2 billion last year.
Having stood at $118.9 million in 2013, Turkey's exports to Taiwan surged by 72 percent as of the previous year, reaching $204.5 million. Exports of automobiles rose tenfold compared to the previous year, amounting to $58.5 million.
Turkey's main export products to Taiwan include copper ore, borate, synthetic yarn, marble and other natural stones as well as iron and steel flat products. However, there are also developments in the exports of some other product groups, such as wood materials, plates, passenger cars, mobile devices and pasta.
Meanwhile, imports estimated to be around $1.6 billion in 2016, it rose to $2 billion last year. The import items mostly included intermediate goods. Among the most important items, Turkey imports from Taiwan were integrated circuits, machine tools for metalworking, iron-steel screws, nuts, bolts, mobile phones, televisions and monitors.
There are 21 Taiwan-based companies in Turkey. Commercial and economic relations between the two countries are maintained in the natural course without state support. In order to develop commercial, economic and cultural relations between Turkey and Taiwan, the "Taipei Cultural Office" is operating in Ankara along with the "Turkish Trade Office" in Taipei.
According to a study conducted by the Turkish Trade Office in Taiwan, the export potential stands out in cherries, apricots, grapes, figs, oranges, lemons, sunflowers, olive oil, hazelnuts, walnuts, seafood, glass, ceramics, souvenirs, branded textile products, leather, apparel, chemical products, dishwashers, auto spare parts and accessories, as well as forestry products.
Taipei's Economic and Cultural Mission Representative Yasser Cheng said they want Turkey to be more involved in the Taiwanese market.
The investment volume between Turkey and Taiwan is not at the desired level and that there is no regulation to prevent double taxation, Cheng added that Taiwanese investors have turned to Eastern European countries such as Czechia, Poland and Slovakia for this reason.
Cheng noted that Taiwan is working on selling more products to Turkey. "We also want Turkey to promote its products in Taiwan. There are ongoing collaborations between Turkey and Taiwan in many areas such as culture, health, medicine, agriculture, science, technology, smart cities and maritime transport," Cheng continued.
"We can also develop our cooperation in many other areas such as solar energy, green energy and information technologies. We want Taiwan's products and investments to come to Turkey more and to open up to European, African and Middle Eastern markets," he said.
Cheng pointed to the quality of Turkey's agricultural products and natural resources and said that Taiwan could import agricultural products and marble from Turkey, while Turkish businesspeople could also invest in these areas.
He recalled that in the last five years, there has been a lot of collaboration between the two countries, stressing that the start of direct flights between Istanbul and Taipei as of March 2015 was an important step in that
Touching on the tourism figures between Turkey and Taiwan, Cheng said that an average of 80,000 Taiwanese tourists come to Istanbul annually, bringing at least $250 million, highlighting that Taiwan has demonstrated good will for balancing the trade deficit between the two countries with more tourists.
Cheng also stressed the interest of Taiwanese tourists in Turkey and invited Turkish tourists to come and visit Taiwan.