We completed 2017, which we declared as the “Breakthrough Year in Exports”, with an export figure of 157.1 billion dollars together with our 70 thousand exporters. Making 2017 the second highest year in terms of exports and the number one year in terms of exporters.
Thanks to the liberalization initiatives of the 1980s and the Customs Union agreement in the 1990s, more and more companies started to engage in foreign trade. However, exports gained a leading place in the strategies of Turkish companies only by the 2000s.
In the year 2000, we had 25 thousand exporters. However, we nearly doubled this figure by 2010 and reached 49 thousand exporters. We passed the thresholds of 50 thousand companies in 2011 and 60 thousand companies in 2014. We nearly reached 70 thousand companies in 2017 as an all times high. In 2018, which we declared as the “Year of Records”, we are expecting new records in not only the export figures but also the number of exporters.
There are significant contributions from our Government, Turkish Exporters Assembly and Exporters Associations in reaching this level. We can clearly see effects of the export based growth model and the supports given to increase the diversity of our export profile.
Moreover, as TİM and Exporter Associations, we are always trying to add new members to the exporters' family, developing macro strategies in terms of our exports and attaching importance to increasing the number of exporters by organizing trade delegations and conferences.
However, both the number of exporters and continuity of exporters are important for us. We encourage exporters to diversify their customer portfolios and products to have a healthier structure. With this respect, we say that our exporters should compensate the fluctuations in one market with the other by not being bound to a single market.
The main reason we encourage sustainability in exports is that, until 2000 there are 201 thousand companies who did export in at least 1 year. However, 4,500 of those companies, nearly %2, have exported in all 17 years. Moreover, 70 thousand companies have exported in only 1 of these 17 years.
This data show that we need to achieve sustainability in company level in order to increase our export in a sustainable way. We are carrying out some projects for these companies not only to encourages export but also to increase awareness of sustainability. In these projects, we give priority to this issue and we shape our steps with these ideas.
At the moment, the number of our exporters has reached 70 thousand and we are expecting to exceed 100 thousand firms by 2023. If the current exporters continue to export until 2023, we will definitely reach our target 500 billion dollars by the 100th year of our Republic.