Opening Remarks by Ambassador Selçuk Ünal at Foreign Economic Relations Board - DEİK Canada - Turkey Business Council 13th Annual Conference
Sayın Bakan Yardımcım, Mr. Deputy Minister,
Chairs of Turkey-Canada Business Councils,
Distinguished representatives of Canadian and Turkish industries,
I wish to start by paying my sincerest condolences for the personal loss of Mr. Osman Okyay, Chair of the Turkey-Canada Business Council, who had to immediately return to Turkey.
I would like to thank CTBC and DEİK for organizing this event. This meeting and today’s attendance are concrete examples of growing interest towards Turkey in Canada, especially in the commercial, economic and investment fields. I believe it will contribute to further develop our economic relations. I also thank all sponsors.
Being a NATO ally as well as an EU candidate, being 17th largest economy in the world, 6th largest in Europe and the fastest growing economy amongst the OECD, Turkey presents significant opportunities to further advance trade and investment between our two countries. Both allies share so many interests around their G-20 membership. But the current trade volume of 2,6 billion CAD still do not represent the real potential.
Turkey has emerged as a top investment destination for foreign investors especially during the past 15 years. The total amount of foreign direct investment inflows since 2002 has reached to 165 billion US dollars, 16,8 billion USD only in 2015. Canada is another growing G20 economy and an important investment hub. Foreign companies have been using Turkey to access the EU market, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. On the other hand, Canada is well positioned to provide business opportunities in North America.
I am pleased to inform you that a number of initiatives have already started to realize this potential:
- Toronto Deputy Mayor led a delegation of executives of 17 companies from the Greater Toronto Area to Istanbul last November. In two events hosted by DEİK and Istanbul Chamber of Commerce around 170 Turkish companies connected with their Canadian counterparts.
- We are working on a similar visit to be organized later this year by companies from Montreal.
- We are also working together with CTBC for a similar trade delegation from Newfoundland.
- Turkish companies have participated in major fairs and exhibitions in Canada for various sectors such as SIAL Food Innovation Exhibition and International Travel and Vacation Show in Montreal.
-Likewise, two tourism workshops were held in Toronto and Montreal lately.
- Turkish companies will continue to participate in the upcoming events, such as World Expo Harpex & Hometex next month in Toronto, CANSEC, herein Ottawa and Construct Canada later this year.
A closer look into Turkish-Canadian trade for the year previous years reveals that there is much room for further development in our bilateral trade and joint projects. Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan has named Turkey as a top emerging market with broad Canadian interests. Export Development Canada has identified Turkey as a strategic market of opportunity for Canadian firms. The panels today will focus on different sectors and aspects of these opportunities.
The exploratory talks of a new generation and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between Turkey and Canada are successfully completed. The official negotiations are expected to be initiated, hopefully soon. For that we await decision of the Canadian Cabinet.
I would like thank you all for your contributions to the development of Turkish-Canadian relations and your efforts for the growth of business to business relations. We will strive for increasing the current levels of trade and investment between our countries to its full potential.
With no further due, I would now like to introduce Mr. Fatih Metin, Deputy Minister of Economy. As a former Member of Parliament and a former Deputy Minister of Customs and Trade; Deputy Minister Metin is one of the distinguished high level Turkish officials who is well-positioned to describe the commercial and economic potential of Turkey and Turkey-Canada relations in this domain. I invite him to deliver the keynote speech of the DEİK-CTBC Annual Conference.
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