A delegation from the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) was in Germany Tuesday to discuss the development of cooperation and the exchange of experience on Industry 4.0 with German industrialists.
Following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Berlin in late September and the bilateral ministerial-level meetings in September and October, steps to improve Turkish-German economic ties were accelerated. During his visit, Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to re-operationalize some of the cooperation mechanisms that have remained inactive for a while.
German Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier visited Turkey on Oct. 25 for the first meeting of the Turkey-Germany Joint Economy and Trade Committee (JETCO), after which the two sides gave momentum to projects that will upgrade bilateral economic relations.
As part of the JETCO mechanism, five working groups were established. One of them is the Industry Working Group, which will concentrate on the development of cooperation for Industry 4.0 and exchange of experience and will consist of five subgroups to specialize in automotive chemicals, textile, machinery and the automotive supply industry.
The first meeting of the Industry Working Group was to be held yesterday in Germany's capital Berlin with the participation of top executives of the companies from TÜSİAD and the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
Speaking ahead of the meeting, TÜSİAD's Berlin Representative Alper Üçok said the Industry Working Group aims at developing cooperation and sharing experiences on Industry 4.0. Üçok stated the working group will have five sub-working groups for the automotive, chemical, textile, machinery and automotive supply industry sectors, adding the working plans for the coming period will be prepared in the meeting. He pointed out the main framework of the working group to be formed during the meeting was intended to be Industry 4.0. "Under this framework, we plan to focus on the target sectors. We want to address them as sectors with high added value in industrial cooperation between the two countries."
These sectors — automotive, machine and chemistry in particular — create more added value and stand out in trade between the two countries, Uçok noted. "These sectors with high added value are expected to play an important role in the industrial cooperation between the two countries in the future. In all these studies, Industry 4.0 will be our top frame. In these sectors, we will try to focus on how we can increase mutual cooperation in Industry 4.0 practices," he continued.
The year 2019, Uçok said, will be "a year of infrastructure work" for the deepening of Turkish-German economic relations and the cooperation methods, projects and ideas that will emerge in these meetings will be embodied, and the fields of cooperation will be determined in this regard.
TÜSİAD's Berlin representative stressed the protectionist U.S. policies in trade were one of the reasons behind the recent rapprochement of Turkey and Germany. "These two countries are in search of cooperation in order to compensate for the harmful effects of these protectionist trade policies," he said.
Noting that Turkey should work very hard with some institutions in Germany in order to attract industrial investments, Üçok suggested it would be useful to prepare some special programs for the German investors regarding the investment opportunities in Turkey, especially with the German Economy and Energy Ministry and its affiliated institutions. As for the other working groups established between the two countries, Trade Working Group will work to expand bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Germany, which is the top destination for Turkish exports, making it the country's biggest trading partner.
Another working group of Turkish-German JETCO will focus on projects related to infrastructure. The Turkish Contractors Association and the Economic Affairs and Energy Ministry department that is responsible for Germany's export loans, Hermes, will cooperate in the group.
In due consideration of the high tourism potential between the two countries, a working group to boost tourism was established to be administered by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies and the German Tourism Association (DTV).
A working group that will focus on cooperation in third-party countries was also launched under JETCO. Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and the German Near and Middle East Business Association (NUMOV) will ensure coordination of the working group and launch projects to enable Turkish and German businesses to form partnerships in third-party countries.