Turkish gov’t looks beyond its proximity to ramp up exports
The Turkish government aims to add $80 billion to the volume of its exports with its “faraway countries strategy,” Trade Minister Mehmet Muş said in an interview on Oct. 7.
“Turkey carries out 65 percent of its exports within an area of 2,000 kilometers. We often don’t go further away,” Muş told private broadcaster NTV.
“We have been working on a ‘faraway countries strategy’ for the upcoming period. We are taking opinions from the business world,” he added.
According to the minister’s remarks, Nearly 55 percent of Turkey’s annual trade volume, expected to exceed $210 billion this year, consists of exports and imports with European countries, both the European Union members and others.
On the other hand, the economic volume of North American and Asia-Pacific countries tops $85 trillion.
The share of Turkish goods in the imports of those countries, which are at least 8,000 kilometers away from Turkey’s borders, is just about 0.25 percent.
“We want to raise that rate four-fold. Thus, we have a target of $80 billion increase in exports,” Muş said.
In a bid to reach that goal, Turkey is working on integrating its overseas logistics centers with its e-exports platform, he said.
Turkey is also looking into diversifying its service exports, increasing supports to contracting, health tourism and game development sectors.
Its advanced tourism industry, which welcomed 52 million visitors and earned nearly $35 billion in revenues in 2019, is still licking its wounds caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry has set a target of 25 million foreign tourists and $20 billion in tourism revenues for this year.
Turkey has shone out as a reliable supplier country during the pandemic, Muş noted.
“Because of logistical problems in the supply chains, we see that countries are seeking ways to procure their needs from nearer places,” he said.
“At the same time, Turkey has attained the quality, the speed and the know-how in exports to the EU. Turkey has a significant experience now, and it has proven that during the pandemic,” he added.
“Apparently, Turkey will become a heavyweight production base in the upcoming years,” he said.
Upgrading the Customs Union Agreement between Turkey and the EU, which has a history of 25 years, is a matter of timing, the minister underlined.
Economic benefits and welfare of both sides are at stake, Muş said.
“For approval in the next EU summit, I am hopeful. But I won’t be surprised if it is not,” he said, blaming internal politics of the EU countries.
The ministry is working on a new regulation for the e-commerce sector in Turkey, the minister said, recalling that the share of e-commerce in the retail sales in the country increased from 15 percent in 2020 to 17 percent so far this year.
Answering a question on skyrocketing food cost inflation, the minister said that inspections at supermarkets would continue to counter exorbitant prices but that the government would stay committed to free market principles.
Globally, food prices have risen around 30 percent year on year, he noted.