Gov’t signals support to exporters at bay in Iraq, Russia

Gov’t signals support to exporters at bay in Iraq, Russia

Gov’t signals support to exporters at bay in Iraq, Russia

AA photo

Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek has signaled for additional financial support to Turkish exporters who have faced problems in some key markets, mainly Iraq and Russia, in a meeting of the Exporters’ Assembly of Turkey (TİM) on Feb. 23. 

Şimşek underlined the alarming lowering of global growth rates for the last couple of years, which has hit global trade as well. 

“We are to turn these challenges into an opportunity and limit the negative effects of them over Turkish exporters, producers and jobs… We want to offer additional financial support by Eximbank or around one-year postponements in the repayment of existing debts to our exporters in challenging markets, including Iraq and Russia. Most of the problems in these markets have not been the result of the shortsightedness of our exporters, but the escalating geopolitical risks there. As the government, we are with them and ready to support them,” he said. 

Turkey’s exports decreased by around 8.7 percent to $143.7 billion in 2015 compared to 2014 due to fluctuations in parity, a plunge in commodity prices and escalating geopolitical risks, according to data from the TİM. 

Exports also declined 14.4 percent to $9.2 billion in January compared to the same month of 2015. Turkey’s exports to the Iraqi market saw a dramatic decline, around 48 percent, in January from the same month of 2015, according to TİM data. While Turkey made exports worth around $313 million to Russia in January 2015, this figure regressed to around $110 million in January of this year amid the diplomatic crisis with the country. 

Şimşek said Turkey had long focused on its neighboring markets, but should now discover Asian countries. 

“The European economies have faced economic slowdown, which has seemed to last for a long time. The Arab Spring movement has hit many countries. It is now time for our exporters to discover and compete in Asia. We have long neglected this huge market as well as the American market. In the upcoming period, we need to extend our efforts to grab new markets anywhere in the world,” he said. 

Şimşek noted over $530 billion of foreign capital left the emerging markets last year on the brink of the rate hike decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed), adding that this figure was expected to be around $350 billion over this year and Turkey needs to be made attractive for foreign investors. 

“Foreign capital, which has been seeking safe havens, may choose Turkey if we can achieve this through new reforms. Over $10 billion of capital flew out of Turkey last year. Our citizens made over $6.5 billion of direct investment abroad. We need to raise our predictability to perceive capital flowing into Turkey,” he said.