Five of the 17 countries determined within the framework of the T.R. Ministry of Trade’s Export Master Plan are in the Asia-Pacific region. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced the Asia Anew initiative in 2019. When we look at the ASEAN countries, we see that it is a giant market of 10 countries with a population of 650 million and approaching $3 trillion worth. We also have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Malaysia and Singapore from ASEAN. Within this scope, we can easily say that we act in a holistic way that complements and strengthens each other as the public and private sectors.
The innovation, technology, and R&D-oriented production approach of the Asian countries intensifies high value-added production. Expected to have significant effects on our country’s foreign trade and global trade chains after it comes into force, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and developments under the Belt & Road Initiative that will ensure supply chain flows are also our main points of focus.
As of November 2020, the share of Asian countries in our exports has been 12 per cent, and 30 per cent in imports. While our trade deficit to China in the first 11 months of 2020 reached 40 per cent of our total foreign trade deficit, our trade deficit with 17 countries and two regions under the Asia Pacific Business Council is 73.9 per cent in our total foreign trade deficit. Our main goal is to eliminate the “far away” perception about the Turkish private sector due to geographical distance, increase the interest in these markets, and ensure access to opportunities. Ensuring that our companies, especially the SMEs, take part in the Asian market through digitalisation and e-commerce, creating a Turkish brand perception in the market, and taking part in projects in the region more actively are also some of our goals.
Coordinating Chairperson, Turkey- Asia Pacifik Business Councils Murat Kolbaşı