Remarks By Ambassador Selçuk Ünal At Nato Economy Forum In Pdac 2016 , 10.03.2016
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure for me to address the distinguished representatives of Canadian and Turkish mining sectors at this event organized by the NATO Association of Canada and Canada-Turkey Business Council. Thank you all for your interest and participation. I would also like to thank Ms. Julie Lindhout, President of NATO Association of Canada and Mike Ward, Director of Canada-Turkey Business Council.
Turkey is the 17th largest economy in the world, 6th largest in Europe and continues to be the fastest growing economy among the OECD members. Turkey aims at being among the top 10 economies in the world with 2 trillion USD GDP, 25.000 USD GDP per capita and 500 billion USD exports by 2023.
Turkey has emerged as a top investment destination for foreign investors especially during the past 15 years. The structural transformation in the public finance, improvements in tax system and strengthening of the banking sector contributed to Turkey’s resilience to shocks and laid the ground for strong growth. We have an established political system, mature and dynamic private sector, liberal and secure investment environment and a growing domestic market. Young, well-educated and motivated labour force is another pull factor for foreign investors to Turkey. The total amount of foreign direct investment inflows since 2005 has reached to 143 billion US dollars with 12,5 billion USD only in 2014.
With this performance, Turkey has also become the commercial hub of the region. Foreign companies have been using Turkey to access the EU market as well as for business opportunities throughout the Balkans, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East.
Turkey’s mining sector has grown in parallel with the country’s robust economy. The sector’s total production value reached to 13.2 billion USD in 2014. Turkey harbors much proven potential for mining investors. As one of the least explored countries in the region, Turkey stands out as a promising area for miners and explorers. In addition, as mining in Turkey has been limited to surface excavations, huge potential with deep drilling is awaiting investors.
The total amount of gold reserves in Turkey available for processing are 840 tonnes. Based on the geological structure and the gold formation models in the world, the gold potential in Turkey is calculated around 6.500 tonnes, and making it potentially the second country in the world in terms of gold reserves.
Turkey’s young, dynamic and well-educated labour force offers a high-quality labour pool. There are 24 mining engineering departments in Turkish universities and the number of mining engineers reaches to 20,000. Turkey also offers relatively low logistics and drilling costs, proximity to major markets, government incentives and highly competitive taxes. Turkey attracted around 240 million USD of FDI to its mining industry in 2013 and an additional 450 million USD of FDI in 2014, while mining exports increased to 260 million USD. These figures prove increased investors’ interest in Turkey. And today Turkey hosts more than 700 international mining companies, up from only 138 in 2004.
The relations between Turkey and Canada further progress in many fields. More than a dozen Canadian mining companies successfully operate in Turkey. Bilateral trade reached to 2,6 billion Canadian Dollars in 2015. However, we believe the current level of trade and investment volume between our countries do not represent the real potential.
A closer look into Turkish-Canadian trade for the year previous years reveals that there is much room for improvement in our bilateral trade. 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 finalization of an Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation in 2009 has created an environment more conducive to bilateral investments. The exploratory talks or 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 wait decision of the Canadian Cabinet.
The development of this sector has its own challenges that the Turkish Government is very much aware of and continuously trying to tackle. I wish to underline once again that Turkey offers significant opportunities for foreign investors in the mining sector. I believe, the rich context of this event will contribute to the better understanding of these opportunities.
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.