Italian, Turkish firms to establish new ventures

Italian, Turkish firms to establish new ventures

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Italian, Turkish firms to establish new ventures

A light commercial vehicle production line at one of Tofaş’s, Fiat’s local partner, plant churns out minivans. A crowded Italian trade mission is seeking busnisses in Turkey

New links between Italian and Turkish firms will be formed during today’s Italy-Turkey Economy Forum in Istanbul, according to Gianpaola Scarante, Italy’s ambassador to Ankara.

“Bilateral commercial relations between the two countries are rising to a third dimension, except for investments and mutual acquisitions. Now Turkish and Italian firms will invest in common action in third countries,” he said.

The bilateral trade volume was up 28 percent in 2011 reaching $21.3 billion. It will grow by 20 percent this year with the formation of new cooperation, according to Scarante.

“Bilateral trade volume has hit a record level in the last five years. The number of Italian companies active and investing in Turkey has increased by 200 percent to 916 during the first four months of this year,” Scarante said, noting that mutual commercial ties have become deeply-rooted over the past 50 years.

The Italy-Turkey Economy Forum will take place between May 1 and 4, supported by the Prime Ministry Investment Support and Promotion Agency, the Union of Chamber and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD).

Italian institutional attendees include the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Italian Trade Center (ICE), Confindustria (the Italian employers’ federation), Unioncamere (the Union of Italian Chambers) and Associazione Bancaria Italina (the Union of Italian Banks).

200 Italian firms
Some 200 Italian firms are coming to Turkey to attend the forum for new investment opportunities, Scarante said.

“We possibly might have performed such a big Italian trade mission [like this one] only to China before. So we will execute the largest investment initiative in Turkey after China,” he adding, noting that the quality of bilateral trade was increasing along with the quantity.

The number of Turkish companies that have invested in Italy is rising day-by-day, he said. “Turks bought a very large ceramics plant in Italy last year, saving it from going under. I believe that such acquisitions will happen more frequently going forward and more Turkish investors will take over European firms in a bad financial condition.”

Joint ventures
Turkish and Italian business cooperation currently shows a lot of promise, according to Scarante. “Mainly Italian firms take the lead in these ventures, mostly in construction and infrastructure sectors. For example, it is likely that the construction of the Versailles subway will be assumed by a Turkish-Italian company. They will also bridge St. Petersburg Airport and Qatari highway projects. But we want to cooperate in other fields as well,” he said.

The fact that two giant Italian firms, Fiat and Pirelli, have some of their largest plants in Turkey encourages other Italian firms, he added.