UK – Turkey Business Forum held in Istanbul

The 10th UK-Turkey Business Forum, which brought together the business communities of both countries, covered a wide range of issues including post-Brexit perspective, advanced technology, finance and infrastructure, energy, manufacturing and construction. “Turkey is one of the major investment centres with a really strong economy” said TBCCI Chairman Alderman Emma Edhem.

The 10th UK-Turkey Business Forum, to which Turkish British Magazine was an attendee as well, was held in Hilton Istanbul Bosphorus.
The opening speech of the 10th forum, which was organised by the Turkish British Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TBCCI) with the contributions of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey Investment Office and the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK), was made by TBCCI Chairman Alderman Emma Edhem. “Both countries have really solid political, social and economic relations. Turkey is one of the most important investment centres with a strong economy” she said. The forum was attended by numerous guests, including the British Ambassador to Turkey Sir Dominick Chilcott.

“Turkey is one of the major markets in the world”
Mentioning the opportunities that will arise in the post-Brexit period in her speech, Emma Edhem said “Brexit brings significant opportunities for Turkey to develop its economic and commercial relations with the UK. One of the main reasons for this is that the UK will develop an independent commercial policy upon leaving the EU. In particular, the main objective of the UK is to improve our current and future business relations as much as possible.”
Drawing attention to the fact that especially the innovation companies operating in Turkey and other regional countries still prefer the UK market to reach to customers, Emma Edham said “Both countries have really solid political, social and economic relations. Turkey is one of the most important investment centres with a strong economy. Along with its young and hardworking population, liberal investment environment with the labour force in high-quality, strong infrastructure, geographical advantage by its proximity to the world`s energy hubs, and the low tax rates and investment incentives offered by the Turkish government, Turkey is one of the most important markets in the world.”

“$2,4 billion at risk to the detriment of Turkey!”
In her speech, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said that UK Trade Minister Elizabeth Truss’s statement “We will establish free trade zones and ports in the UK after Brexit” overlaps with Turkey`s ongoing projects in this country. In addition, she pointed out that as there may be some problems in the post-Brexit era with regards to customs duties and customs clearance procedures, they have established a special working group to deal with these issues.
Minister Pekcan said that Turkey seems to be the most negatively affected country in a no-deal Brexit situation. “The UN’s reports show that $2.4 billion worth of trade between Turkey and the UK is at risk to the detriment of Turkey. Our own studies, impact analyses, and the results of our consultations with international consultancy firms, show the loss could go up to 3 billion dollars. Automotive, textiles, apparel, white goods and electronics are the most affected sectors. $2 billion in the automotive sector, $1.3 billion in textiles and electronics, and $500 million in white goods will, unfortunately, be affected.” he said.

“We invite British investors to invest in Turkey”
Chief of the Presidential Investment Office Arda Ermut said “We invite British investors to invest in Turkey. There are great opportunities here.” Pointing out to the ambiguities caused by Brexit, Ermut said “This process undoubtedly raises some concerns. As the world goes through such a period, such ambiguities bring opportunities along with concerns. Our professional colleagues in the private sector have great experience in crisis management and how to recover immediately. Turkey has a proven track record in emerging markets in bouncing back from the crisis” he said.
Stressing the regional conflicts and crises around Turkey, Ermut said: “We, as Turkey, are located in this region for centuries. We know how to survive in times of crises. We cannot expect the West to fully understand our situation. This region contains many opportunities as well as having many crises. We ask our allies to trust our experience, especially our crisis management experience. Foreign direct investment to Turkey is under constitutional protection. We want stability not only for Turkey, but also for the wider region.” he said.

“Maintaining a strong partnership is to the benefit of Turkey and the UK”
Highlighting the fact that the UK has been one of the most important allies of Turkey for many years, Turkey-UK Business Council President of DEIK Remzi Gür stated that the bilateral relationship between the two countries dates back to 1500s. Noting that the economic relations between Turkey and the UK should be considered in a different perspective in the context of Brexit-related changes looming on the horizon, Gur said “Regardless of the evolution of the state of affairs, I see great benefit to both countries in maintaining the strong partnership between them. Turkey`s participation in Britain’s agreements with other countries as a trade partner will be in the interest of both sides.“ He said that especially the operations of three thousand British companies in Turkey and the fact that the UK ranks in the first four biggest investor countries in Turkey are among the main factors behind the strengthening partnership between the two countries.

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Vestel’s CEO Turan Erdoğan

One out of every three televisions sold in the UK is Vestel!

Vestel’s CEO Turan Erdoğan, one of the speakers at the forum, said that with its 400 employees, Vestel has been operating in the UK for over 30 years since 1985 and exporting to this country.
Pointing that one out of every three televisions sold in the UK is Vestel, Erdoğan told that they manufacture for 19 different brands in Turkey and sell their products in the UK under various brands.
Mentioning the fact that Vestel’s total turnover in the UK reached £300 million, Erdoğan said that the company’s decision regarding moving their HQ to London will be shaped by the result of Brexit process.
Erdoğan also touched upon the Brexit process, finished by saying: “If a no-deal Brexit happens, there will happen many negotiations between Turkey and the UK and Turkey will become a third country as a result. Both sides need to shoulder responsibility on that matter. We are more than satisfied with our conditions in the UK and I hope that very rational solutions can be found and the discussions and negotiations ahead of us will have a positive result.”