As a result of its stable policies, Turkey has attracted around $201 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last 16 years. The government's policies and incentives aim to continue attracting foreign investors and new long-term investments that constitute high value-added and qualified employment in the upcoming period.
While global trade wars loom, Turkey is seeking new cooperation in which both sides benefit, according to Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank.
"In trade wars there are no winners," Varank said at the opening ceremony of the 17th Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MÜSİAD) EXPO in Istanbul.
Turkey cannot sit and watch as growth expectations for both developed and developing countries are falling due to uncertainty over trade, he said. "A collective effort is needed to revive trade and production," Varank said.
"Come and be a part of an end-to-end indigenization program, whose details we will soon announce. Find your business partners, benefit from our very attractive incentive system, produce in our country and let's win together. In the coming period, our activities will continue to establish industrial zones where high and medium-high technology products will be produced," Varank said, addressing foreign investors.
The end-to-end indigenization program aims at bringing down current account deficit and export of value-added products.
"The program's door is open to foreign investors, every company which invested in Turkey, the same with Turkish companies," Varank said. This October Turkey ranked 17th, up from 43rd, on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index, he added.
"Creating an investor-friendly environment is one of our government's priorities while protectionism is accelerating in the world economy," he stressed.
The four-day MÜSİAD EXPO hosts international businesspeople, investors and statesmen from 140 countries and provides an environment to discuss the future of the economy on the local, regional and global axes.
It is an event that offers international business opportunities and is a platform where industrialists who strive to boost production are able to display their projects. The expo also welcomes approximately 400 purchasing delegations from 140 countries and will host more than 8,000 business-to-business (B2B) meetings.
In his speech, the industry and technology minister emphasized that government is providing a project-based support to investments with high added-value that reduce foreign dependence and contribute to technological transformation.
Turkey got through a difficult August during which its economy was targeted by foreign shocks that hurt currency exchange rates, he noted.
Earlier this month, the U.S. lifted sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers, which were placed in early August for not releasing American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was being tried in Turkey on terror charges. The pastor was released last month.
The relations between Ankara and Washington went through a turbulent period, especially in August and September. The tariffs and sanctions affected the U.S. dollar-Turkish lira exchange rate, which had lost nearly half of its value against the greenback in the said period. The dollar-lira exchange rate recovered recently and was trading at 5.35 yesterday afternoon.
Turkey swiftly took results-based measures to limit the sanctions' impact on the Turkish economy, Varank underlined. "We focused on structural reforms to production with principal axes, indigenization, technology production and branding," he said. Abdurrahman Kaan, the head of MÜSİAD, said the expo is being attended by over 8,000 people from over 100 countries including Germany, the Netherlands, France, China, Malaysia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Nigeria and Angola.
"Our essential principle is growing and earning together, and growing trade and diplomacy on friendship," Kaan noted.
On the other hand, Wilson Muruli Mukasa, Uganda's minister for public service, said that Uganda and Turkey have strong relations and that this will continue. He said Uganda is ready for investments from Turkey in sectors such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure, industry, and health. Uganda is a secure country and it has an educated population of 40 million, he said.
Ibrahim Al-Senoussi, Sudan's vice president, invited Turkish investors to Sudan to see opportunities in the country's underground and overland wealth.
As part of the expo, under the auspices of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the International Business Forum's (IBF) 22nd Annual Congress was held on Tuesday, while a high technology and defense industry event "the High-Tech Port" and the International Young Businessmen Congress (UGİK) are also set to be held.