R&D and Innovation is Key for the Success

We are observing that the turbulence that started in 2015 in global economy continues in 2016. According to the data by World Trade Organization that represents 90% of world trade, global trade volume which had shrunk by 13% in 2015, experienced a decline by 7.6% in 2016. According to the same data, 59 countries suffered a loss in their exports, only 10 were able to enjoy an increase in total exports. However, these countries that managed to increase their exports constitute only 5% of global trade. Countries that suffered most in terms of export are Russia, Norway, Venezuela and similar other countries whose economies are dependent on oil exports.

Turkey's exports, in parallel to the global situation, had experienced a decline by 8.7% in the previous year. However, we increased our share in global trade to 0.87%, which is an all-time high. This year, exports are declining due to decreasing export unit prices, but in quantitative terms we managed to increase our exports by 5.4%. This increase in quantitative terms is a sign that as soon as the detrimental effects of petroleum and commodity prices are no longer, the declining trend in the qualitative terms will be reversed.

In order to overcome the global recession and decrease its effects, regional trade agreements are gaining importance. In this regard, Trans-Pacific Agreement between 12 Pacific countries including USA and planned agreement between USA and EU countries, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are the examples of these attempts to overcome the obstacles. As Turkish Exporters' Assembly, we prepared a report on the impact of Trans-Pacific Partnership on Turkish economy and trade. Announced at a press conference on 12th of May, we discussed the potential scenarios regarding the effect of TTP in detail.

Besides, we are also analyzing the effects of domestic developments on our foreign trade. We published our Foreign Trade and Economy Report consisted of data regarding 2015 and short-middle term estimations & strategies in May. In this report, demonstrating our country's position in overall global trade, we pointed out our strength and weakness and the necessary steps to reach our 2023 goals. In addition, we analyzed the hot-topic, Industry 4.0, and its potential contributions to our exports.

One of the most important happenings in our country, undoubtedly, was the change in the government. As exporters' family, a strong government and harmony at the top level of the state is of highest importance for us in the harsh environment of global trade. We believe this change will strengthen the harmony and will have a positive impact on our economy and exports.

Lastly, I also would like to mention value added products export, which we always underline in all organizations we host. R&D, innovation, design and branding are not only ours, but has become the main debate of all institutions nationwide. Increasing the per kg worth of our exported products to $4 from $1.5 is a crucial step to consolidate the increase in exports and decrease the effects of external shocks. Fifty buckets of tomatoes, twenty shirts and one smart phone are sold at the same price, which demonstrates the importance of R&D, design and branding. Therefore, we believe that Turkey will achieve its goals by focusing its energy in these fields.

I wish a successful month for our country and exporters.