Corner Articles

We Are Adding New Steps to Increase Our Efficiency in ASEAN

As DEİK, we are always building new steps to rise higher and move forward.

“If you are given a bag of cement and a bucket of water, it is up to you to build a step or a barrier,” says a Chinese proverb. As DEİK, we are always building new steps to rise higher and move forward.

And we have had a very busy schedule for the first months of 2021. Apart from our regular programs like the Executive Board Meetings and Interconnected Business, I would like to give examples of our other activities;

Our DEİK Executive Board came together with Mr. President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss a range of topics from our relations with the USA to the Green Deal, from global trade to the Turkish diaspora around the world.

Mrs. Ruhsar Pekcan, our Minister of Trade, attended our DEİK Executive Board Meeting, where we had the chance to present our global trade diplomacy activities for 2021.

We had our first face-to-face Business Forum of the pandemic with our friends from Azerbaijan. The companies from both countries signed 11 new agreements worth over $100 million in line with our trade volume goal of $15 Billion.

We hosted Mr. Kreshnik Bekteshi, the Minister of Economy in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, at DEİK and talked about updating the FTAs and energy investment opportunities between the countries.

After our webinar titled “A New Era in Investment and Trade” with Bangladesh, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) as a great step to deepen our economic relations.

We initiated our “Journey of Business Diplomacy with DEİK” meeting series to bring together each of our Business Council Chairs with the audience through EGD. And we had too many other business diplomacy organisations and activities to mention here. As DEİK, we will continue our activities to maintain the supply chain of our country.

We decided to focus on our activities with the awareness of the changing balances in the upcoming period. For example, we now see two trade blocs forming as Asia-Pacific and Africa. We need to comprehend the opportunities and risks of these developments well.

China, the biggest economy in the Asian Region, ranks 1st in our import and 15th in our export, with a 40% share in our total foreign trade deficit. And the rest of Asia takes up 88% of our total foreign trade deficit. If we can achieve balance in our trade with Asia, we will be able to easily get rid of this deficit. I believe that this goal is as important as it is challenging.

We can take the foreign trade supremacy of the Asia-Pacific region in two ways. Asia has mega-project initiatives for regional economic integration and policies based on technology and R&D infrastructure in its supply chain. Meaning that they make efforts to create more value with their production while creating a market for it.

Last year, in addition to ASEAN, which was formed by 10 countries, we saw the world’s largest free trade bloc emerging with the participation of 5 countries: RCEP. As our ASEAN Working Committee at DEİK, we aim to be regarded as a direct partner to ASEAN, instead of our current position as the sectoral dialogue partner and increase our efficiency in the ASEAN region and its fastest-urbanising regions with our companies in the contracting, digitalisation, and energy industries.

Another topic of our “Asia Anew” program is the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). We are updating our “Turkey’s Position in the Belt & Road Initiative” Report, in which we analyse and bring concrete solutions to the opportunities and risks of Turkey, according to the developments in the pandemic.

We focused on ASEAN, its ever-increasing importance in the global economic order, and what it means for Turkey in this issue of our journal. Prof. Dr. Mahmut Erol Kılıç, our Ambassador at Indonesia, wrote about ASEAN in every aspect and gave his opinions to the Chairs of DEİK Business Council in the ASEAN region. And you will also find the opinions of Cemil Çakar, Co-Chairman of DEİK ASEAN Working Committee and Chairperson of Turkey-Thailand Business Council, in the cover interview.

Enjoy your reading and stay safe.

President of DEİK Nail Olpak

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