Turkey eyes larger share of China's overseas investments, import market

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 08.11.2018 00:00

Turkish and Chinese businesspeople met in Shanghai yesterday to form strong economic cooperation at China's first International Import Expo, which runs until Nov. 10. At an event organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), representatives of 35 Chinese firms, which have a cumulative turnover of $1 trillion, held a meeting titled "New Era, Common Future" with Deputy Trade Minister Gonca Yılmaz and Turkish businesspeople. While the opportunities offered by the huge potential of the Chinese import market were discussed in detail, the aim to raise Turkey's share of Chinese overseas investments was also highlighted.

Addressing the Chinese investors during the meeting, Deputy Trade Minister Batur said that Chinese President Xi Jinping once again emphasized in the opening of the China International Import Expo that China would reach $8 trillion imports in the next five years. She later added that Turkish companies are ready to evaluate this potential.

Batur said in addition to a fairly balanced increase in the unbalanced trade volume between the two countries, the main purpose should be attracting more investment to Turkey from China which invested $124 billion in 2017.

Noting that Turkey, which has a Customs Union agreement with the European Union, provides the most suitable investment environment for Chinese companies with its position on the "One Belt, One Road Initiative," Batur stressed that they aim to take more than a 10-percent share from the total foreign investment of China which has so far invested $920 million in Turkey. Chinese investors were very satisfied with the balancing of Turkey in recent weeks, and Turkey's Customs Union agreement with the EU, its strategic position on the One Belt, One Road Initiative, human resources and installed manufacturing industry raised the interest in Turkey.

DEİK Turkey-China Business Council Chairman Murat Kolbaşı evaluated the meeting, pointing to the importance of 1st China International Import Expo.

"We have been looking forward to this fair for a long time. Over 3,000 firms from 130 countries participated in the fair. A total of 12 countries are selected as strategically important countries, namely Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt, Russia, Britain, Hungary, Germany, Canada, Brazil and Mexico. Two-hundred of the world's largest 500 companies have a stand," Kolbaşı said.

Explaining that the expo features various sectors such as services, automotive, high technology, household electrical appliances and wide goods, game technologies, medical, and food, Kolbaşı indicated that the expo is a giant opening not only to the huge Chinese market, but also to the whole Asian Pacific market. He added that China's 33 states will send delegations to the expo to make purchases.

DEİK Secretary General Caner Çolak, on the other hand, stressed they regard the International Import Expo as a great opportunity to balance the foreign trade deficit between China and Turkey. "China and Turkey are two old neighbors in history, and as the citizens of the two countries fed by the similarities in their differences, we consider this fair as an opportunity to transform our relationship into a global partnership," he noted. Çolak stated that since 2003, when Turkish-Chinese relations began to warm up again, the trade volume between the two countries reached $28 billion. He underlined that China was Turkey's largest importer in 2017 with $23.3 billion, making it Turkey's largest trading partner in the Far East.

"With this approach, we can build a common future in the new era without neglecting to balance our mutual trade also in favor of Turkey, and we can work together and fight together to realize China's 'Two-Century Goals' and Turkey's 2023 targets," Çolak continued. "As DEİK, I believe that we have made the relationship between our countries vibrant and sustainable through these and similar meetings.

Within the scope of this meeting organized at the expo in coordination with the Ministry of Trade, the business people of the two countries had a chance to evaluate the trade and investment between our countries in local currencies, the intensive tourism activities thanks to the extensive work of our embassy and the opportunity to work together in the 'One Belt, One Road' Initiative project which offers great advantages for the whole geography."

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