Speech delivered by Ambassador Selçuk Ünal at "Salon du Développement Canado-Maghrébin", Palais des Congres, Montreal
Executives and Esteemed Guests,
I would like to begin by congratulating the organizers of this successful event and thank them for giving me this opportunity to address such a distinguished audience.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Turkey, being the17th largest economyin the world,6th largest in Europeand the fastest growing economy amongst the OECD, offers significant opportunities in business.
Turkish Government has been pursuing sound macroeconomic strategies, prudent fiscal and monetary policies and realized structural reforms. Despite the turmoil in the adjacent regions, Turkey has enjoyed constant and sustainable growth.
We have recorded5.0% GDP growth in the first quarter 2017and anaverage growth rate of 7.1% between 2011-2015. GDP growth is higher than the market consensus of 3.8%.GDP per capitahas increased to10.807USD in 2016. Purchasing Power ParityGNI per capita passed 19.917 USD.
Turkey also contributes to global economic development through its G20 membership and development washigh on our agenda duringTurkey’s G20 Presidency in 2015.Turkey currently holds thechairmanship of MIKTA,which is a partnership that brings togetherMexico,Indonesia,Republic of Korea,Australiaand Turkey.
Taking this opportunity I would also like to stress Turkey’s achievements in strengthening the middle class and improving the annual disposal incomes of our citizens.
In 2002 over 21 million people were considered to be poor in Turkey, with disposal income per capita being below 5.000 USD. In 2016, this figure dropped to 3 million individuals. The middle class with disposal income of 10.000 to 25.000 USD has grown from just below 18 million to over 40 million in the same period.
Government’s measures such as employment campaign and improving SME’s capacity to access to finance yielded positive results in the economy in the first quarter of 2017. Thanks to these measures, both Capacity Utilization Rate and Business Confidence Index improved in 2017. Likewise, industrial production and purchasing orders in the first and second quarters continued to rise. On consumer confidence index side, employment expectations improved sharply in June.
According to IHS Markit’s latest TurkeyPurchasing Managers' Indexreport, manufacturing operating conditions in Turkey improved. The improvement is mainly driven by the fastest gain in new orders since February 2011. Additionally, PMI rose to 54.7 and registeredat its 43-month high.
Turkey has attracted around$180 billion FDI over the past 14 year.Since early 2000s, Turkey has embarked on a comprehensive reform agenda that has resulted in robust FDI inflows, thus in overall Turkey has outperformed many Eastern European countries.
Global financial crisis in 2009 and the ensuing sovereign debt crisis in Europe, like others, have hit hard Turkey’s traditional sources of FDI too, especially the European Union. Turkey has made up that loss by attracting FDI from Asia and other European countries. Despite both global and regional challenges that have created uncertainty in the global economy, Turkey continues to attract FDI. During the first 4 months of 2017, FDI inflows to Turkey increased 2%.
In the last 10 years, mega projects amounting to250 billion USD were completed, including big scale energy and infrastructure investments. Projects like the third bridge between Europe and Asia as well as the third airport in Istanbul - which will be the biggest in Europe - are only some examples.
On the other hand, Turkish entrepreneurs are also encouraged to increase their investments in overseas markets, including Canada. Turkish Airlines, being one of the biggest Turkish companies successfully investing and operating in Canada and main sponsor of many Canadian events and organisations including the Montreal Jazz Festival for the past two years, is among the best examples.
According to the Turkish Exporters Assembly, Turkey recorded$12.1 billion of exports in June 2017. The latest figures mean that Turkey enjoys 8 months of continuous growth in exports. Total exports in thefirst half of 2017 increased by 8.4%when compared to same period of 2016 andreached to $76.4 billion. Germany, UK and Italy became Turkey’s largest export markets in the first half of 2017. Total export to these markets was more than $15.8 billion that is approximately one quarter of Turkey’s total exports.
According to UN World Tourism Organization, international tourist arrivals to Turkey grew by 4.4% on a yearly basis. Turkeyis currentlythe 6th most popular tourist destination in the world,attracting more than 31 million tourists in 2016.Istanbul Atatürk Airport has become the biggest air hub in Europe by hosting 61 million passengers traveling through in 2015 surpassing the JFK and Frankfurt.Istanbul is thesecondcityafter New York with the highest number of resident Consulates.
We all know that there have been terrorist attacks at many tourism centres in the world and last year Turkey has also taken its share. However, we have been able to prevent attacks since the end of 2016 thanks to additional operations and measures we have taken.
But, a major attack took place on 15 July 2016 by Fethullahist Terror Organization – FETO, which was nesting within the army and other public agencies. Members of this terror group attempted a military coup using a tiny fraction of the army, fighter jets, tanks and helicopters, which was immediately foiled by the Turkish people in one day.
Turkish economy successfully passed this challenge as well. Financial markets continued to operate in a normal manner immediately after the coup attempt just the other day. There has been no negative impact on the real economy which is a significant proof of the strength and resilience of the Turkish economy.
So, Turkey is a safe country to travel, invest and to do business.
And finally, a few words and figures on Turkey-Canada bilateral trade:
There is tremendous untapped potential in trade and investments between Turkey and Canada which must be mutually explored further. Trade between our two countries has been stable at around 2,4 billion CAD for the past 3 years. Our bilateral trade stands at around 800 million CAD in the first half of 2017. It reflects approximately 10% increase when compared with the same period in 2016. We hope this positive trend will continue.
The main fields of cooperation between Canada and Turkey are mining, agriculture, infrastructure, energy and telecommunication. We aim to further increase our trade, cooperation and investments in these fields.
We are working to further advance trade and investments between Canada and Turkey via bilateral contacts. We were pleased to host Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his first overseas visit to the G20 Summit in Turkey in November 2015, followed by Minister Stephane Dion’s visit to Istanbul in February 2016.
Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication, Ahmet Arslan and Minister of Trade and Customs, Bülent Tüfenkçi and Minister of European Affairs, Ömer Çelik visited Canada this year. Turkish Deputy Minister of Economy attended DEİK-CTBC Annual Conference in May of last year in Ottawa which was attended by some 60 companies in various sectors.
High level business delegations from Turkey continued to visit Canada in 2017. After the visits of the Presidents of Foreign Economic Relations Board-DEİK and Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, a business delegation from the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey headed by its President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu visited Canada and held meetings in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. These visits and meetings will continue.
The signing of a free trade agreement between two countries is one of our most important goals. The exploratory talks of a new generation and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between Turkey and Canada were successfully completed three years ago. The opening of the negotiations awaits the decision of the Canadian government. When concerete steps taken in that direction, I believe it will be another boost to our bilateral trade.
I wish you all a successful conference. Thank you.
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