Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) President Rızanur Meral said Thursday that a major international trade summit hosted by his organization has resulted the signing of trade deals worth at least $300 million in two days.
Addressing reporters at a press conference in İstanbul, Meral said the exact value of deals sealed as a result of the Turkey-World Trade Bridge 2011 conference has yet to be announced, but estimates point to well over $300 million. The event kicked off in İstanbul on Wednesday, when 700 foreign businesspeople had the chance to meet with dozens of Turkish exhibitors at the Harbiye Congress Center, and continued with pre-planned tête-à-tête meetings on Thursday.
Meral said some Turkish companies initiated agreements and some expanded their exports. He offered the example of a European company that ordered 70 trucks from a Turkish company, and hopes to increase its orders to 2,000 trucks. Each truck will be sold for $80,000, he added, noting that this deal alone will therefore be worth $160 million.
The company will purchase supplies from Turkey as well, Meral said, without providing further details about the buyer.
The event also saw other substantial deals signed between participating Turkish and foreign businesses. Meral said one of the biggest firms in China ordered 50 containers of hazelnuts, and another European firm ordered 20 tons of olive oil from Turkish producers. TUSKON’s president said the foreign companies who took part in the event all came to the summit to buy products from Turkey, and added: “These buyers came all the way from their countries. Both the Turkish and the foreign participants know how international commerce works. Foreign businessmen come to this summit and pay for their own travel and accommodation expenses, which means they are serious buyers.”
Meral said that TUSKON placed an emphasis on Latin American countries this year, because Turkish entrepreneurs want to explore opportunities in unknown countries. He said businessmen from Cuba, Colombia, Brazil, Haiti and Paraguay were represented at this year’s summit, especially Brazil with 20 participating companies. Serious talks also took place with a Chinese company looking to buy food products, which plans to visit the factories of some companies in the Black Sea region of northern Turkey.
Meral stated that some Turkish firms have begun to open franchises overseas, thanks to the summit. Biscuit producer Saray Bisküvi, as well as dessert makers Seyidoğlu and Bolulu Hasan Usta and snack producer Malatya Pazarı, signed franchise agreements with companies in Balkan countries. According to the information Meral provided to reporters, one famous company from the Philippines bought a franchise to produce the famous Kahramanmaraş ice cream in the Southeast Asian country. A businessman from Europe signed an agreement to establish a honey factory in his country. A firm from Central Asia bought food machinery during the summit. Another firm agreed to buy one container of jam and pasta as well as a container of cleaning products each month from a Turkish company. A firm from Afghanistan signed a deal for agricultural machinery. The possibility of integrating meat production with East Asian countries was discussed. Companies from Russia, Kazakhstan and Africa also placed some orders, Meral said.
Meral said the summit also brought in $10 billion in revenues from the shopping and tourism activities of participating businesspeople and their families. “Many of these people are interested in jewelry; they provided revenue to Turkey by shopping in local malls. We have brought 556 national delegations with a total of 11,000 businesspeople to Turkey from 140 different countries in the last 14 months. TUSKON expects to receive an award from the Ministry of Tourism.”
Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) President Mehmet Büyükekşi said that his organization’s new focus is on studying the sector-specific needs of various countries, and he hopes to increase Turkey’s exports to $135 billion by the end of 2011. Many Turkish companies that attended the summit expressed their gratitude to TUSKON for enabling them to meet with foreign companies. Speaking to Today’s Zaman, vegetable oil producer Orkide’s Foreign Relations Manager Ahmet Kuddusi Us said: “We appreciate TUSKON’s efforts, because there is a need for such activities to expand foreign trade.” He also explained the transformation of the global image of Turkish products, saying: “Turkish products have not been popular in the past, but now they are the symbol of quality and trust in many countries. We have a price advantage and we offer high-quality products at reasonable prices.” He also said “Turkey’s goal to increase its exports to $500 billion by 2023 is achievable, if we can organize more and better events like this one and bring in more serious buyers and sellers.” Afyonkarahisar-based meat producer Danet’s CEO Sait Uluçay also attended the summit as a regular participant, and said his company’s target countries are the Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries. He underlined that “These countries choose Turkish products because we have better technology and quality and we provide different tastes and a variety of products.”
27 October 2011, Thursday / GAMZE GÜL, İSTANBUL