China surprasses US in Turkish marble exports

China surprasses US in Turkish marble exports

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
China surprasses US in Turkish marble exports

China’s potential as a buyer in the marble business has turned the country into the dominant force in the sector, filling the coffers of Turkish suppliers.

China’s immense potential as a buyer in the marble business not only sheltered the sector following the 2008 global crisis, but managed to turn the country into the dominant force in the field, filling Turkish suppliers’ coffers, the head of a leading marble company has said.

The crisis put United States out of the game as a strong force, allowing countries of the East and Far East to increase their share of the market, Temmer President Rüstem Çetinkaya told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Temmer’s exports also heavily reflect the change, with nearly 80 percent of the firm’s exported material ending up in eastern countries, namely China, which buys up nearly 40 percent of Turkey’s mining exports.

China towers with a vast potential of land, a booming construction sector and a unique taste in marble that allow certain types of the stone to become commodities bought almost exclusively by the Chinese, Çetinkaya said. The Asian giant is also endowed with cheaper labor, which allows for the faster and effective processing of the raw material.

China’s strength in the field is so strongly felt that factories in Europe are now long dead, but marble quarries continue to function at full speed – thanks to Chinese buyers.

“A certain stone that is thrown away here is bought by the Chinese at high prices,” Çetinkaya said. “That stone will raise our planned budget, for instance. We sell to Russia, Ukraine, to Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India – but 80 percent goes to Far East countries, which is pretty reflective of the general market in Turkey.”

The Middle East also buys heavily from Turkey, particularly with the reconstruction of countries that are “just out, or soon to be out of war,” he said.

“It happened in northern Iraq as well, and Libya. In Syria, too, the war will eventually end. And though it’s a paradox of the human and trade aspect, we have a great advantage in these countries. We receive a good share, and we will have good markets,” Çetinkaya said.

Turkey has a massive advantage in the field, with high reserves and a variety of kinds and colors of marble and natural stones, Çetinkaya said. The country is 10th in its variety of mines, according to official numbers, and home to 33 percent of the world’s marble reserves.

Marble and natural stones exports constitute up to half of Turkey’s total mining exports, having totaled $2 billion in 2011.