The G7 nations currently account for around 50 percent of the world's total economic output. By 2050 this will drop to around 25 percent. This simple fact explains why countries like the U.K. both want and need to build closer economic ties with young, rapidly expanding nations like Turkey. We are already vital economic partners, with the U.K. being the third biggest importer of goods from Turkey, and with more than 2 million Britons holidaying in Turkey every year. More than 30,000 Brits own property in Turkey. This is a good start, but the time is right for our relationship to move up a notch. As part of this ambition, the City of London stands ready to assist Turkey in their ambitious economic plans.
As Lord Mayor I represent the City - a term used for the U.K.'s financial center - for one year in office. It is a packed 12 months during which I spend around 100 days overseas, visiting developing and developed nations and cementing the partnerships of international trade. During my three-day visit in Turkey I'll meet senior members of the government, investment authorities and business leaders in Istanbul and Ankara, looking to deepen the economic ties between our two countries.
However, above all I am here to promote the advantages of working with the city of London. The city is an international hub for professional services, including insurance and reinsurance, private wealth management, investment banking, legal services and project management. These services are of use to nations of all sizes and at any stage of development. For Turkey, they could help to finance, insure, and promote the projects that will maintain the impressive growth that has seen gross domestic product (GDP) per capital nearly triple since 2002.
The city of London looks forward to collaborating with the Istanbul International Finance Centre to drive new areas of growth between these two financial hubs. One area of partnership that has the potential to be particularly fruitful is Islamic finance - a market that is currently growing 50 percent faster than traditional banking.
The city's expertise covers many areas of financial services, particularly in ethical products, and includes a growing range of Sharia-compliant financial products. In addition, two years ago the U.K. cemented our position by becoming the first country outside the Islamic world to issue sovereign Sukuk which we received exceptionally strong demand which related in orders totaling around 2.3 billion pounds. More than 20 banks operating in the U.K. offer Islamic financial products, along with 25 law firms that supply legal services relating to Islamic finance for the global and domestic markets. With all this in mind, it is safe to say we have a lot to offer the world. We would like to nurture more collaborative relationships with other global centers of Islamic finance, comparing notes and building on that collected knowledge. That is why we're keen for closer partnership with Turkey in this exciting area of finance.
Turkey has been very successful in driving growth in tough global economic conditions, being the fastest growing country in the OECD over the last decade, and our policymakers could perhaps look to learn from your country's example. Take airports as an example. As the U.K. continues to put off the final decision on whether or not Heathrow will be allowed to build a much-needed third runway, as recommended by an independent report into U.K. airport capacity, other countries like Turkey are being bold. Istanbul's new airport will one day be the largest airport in the world, with an appreciable positive impact on the local and regional economy. Quick, decisive action years ago meant Turkey has not faced the bottleneck that we in the U.K. now face. You are keeping speed with ever-advancing global competition.
Another way in which Turkey continues its optimistic, business-focused development is through its ambition to join the European Union. The U.K. government sees the EU accession process as the most effective means of encouraging reform, stability and democracy in Turkey.
Closer to home, the U.K. itself is currently engrossed in a referendum on whether or not to remain in the EU, and although passions are strong on both sides, the overwhelming majority of London firms are adamant that we should remain. The referendum will be held on June 23.
Before then, my main message to our friends and partners in Turkey is that the U.K. is a great place to do business. We have a diverse range of business opportunities, a business-friendly environment and a thriving cultural offer, and Turkey is an incredibly important location for British companies looking to expand. Only through greater cooperation can our two nations maintain our position as catalysts of global economic growth. I hope this visit forges deeper links between our nations, and enables our business communities to work more closely together to reach our economic potential.
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