TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle: Türkiye's proactive diplomacy will reflect positively on exports
Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) has been continuing its “TIM Export Talks” online panels with ambassadors since 2020 intending to chart the direction of trade during and after the pandemic process. The first “TİM Export Talks” panel of 2022 was organized under the title “What Opportunities Are There in Russia?” Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Mehmet Samsar and TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle attended the panel.
Stating that they are closely following the war between Russia and Ukraine, the two countries with which Türkiye has deep economic, political, commercial, and cultural relations, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “As our President has clearly stated, we can give up neither Russia nor Ukraine. Goods can be restored, trade may improve, but the lives lost cannot be brought back. Therefore, I reiterate our support to our government and diplomatic representatives who continue their attempts to achieve peace. As the export family we know that after every darkness, there comes light.”
Mehmet Samsar, Türkiye's ambassador to Moscow, said, “Our common goal with Russia is to consolidate the performance of the increase in bilateral trade by more than 55 percent in the coming period and to reach a common trade volume of over 100 billion dollars. In the coming period, we will encourage more delegations from Türkiye to come here. Foreign brands leaving here are trying to take advantage of various opportunities to return to Russia. At this stage, it is very important for us that our recognized brands come here and take their place in shopping malls.”
Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), the only umbrella organization of 100,000 exporters with 61 exporters' associations and 27 sectors, continues to work to reduce the effects of shrinking international trade during the Covid-19 process and to take a stronger place in the new world order that will occur at the end of the process. Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) organizes TİM Export Talks programs to improve the maneuverability of exporters in foreign markets and to inform companies about current developments in export markets with the global pandemic.
The 'TİM Export Talks' online panel series, which has been organized with the participation of ambassadors since 2020 and where opportunities in countries such as China, the Netherlands, the USA, the European Union, and the United Kingdom are evaluated, continued with the panel where the export potential to the Russian Federation was discussed this year. The panel was held live on TİM's social media accounts with the title “What Opportunities Are There in Russia?” with the participation of Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Mehmet Samsar and TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle. The panel discussed the state of the economy of the Russian Federation after the pandemic, developments in the foreign trade of the two countries, and opportunities for the future. Afterward, informational presentations were made to the companies regarding current developments.
Türkiye cannot remain indifferent to the process politically as well as commercially and economically.
Stating that they closely follow the war between the two countries, with which Türkiye has deep economic, political, commercial, and cultural relations, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle gave the following information about Türkiye's export to these countries, which are its neighbors from the Black Sea. “Last year, we exported $5.8 billion to Russia with an increase of 28 percent, $2.9 billion to Ukraine with an increase of 40 percent, and $916 million to Belarus with an increase of 52 percent. In 2021, we welcomed 4.7 million tourists from Russia, 2 million from Ukraine, and 300,000 from Belarus. Two countries that are our neighbors from the Black Sea, and Belarus which is directly involved in the process, directly addressee to our $10 billion export revenue and $5 billion in tourism revenue. As such, Türkiye cannot remain indifferent to the process politically as well as commercially and economically.
“We are proud of our diplomacy, which managed to bring together the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in Antalya and the negotiating delegations in İstanbul”
Emphasizing that Türkiye is one of the few countries that has managed to take reasonable and logical steps in an environment where oppressions are ignored and all methods are used to isolate a country and its people, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “As our President has clearly stated, we can give up neither Russia nor Ukraine. Türkiye has led proactive diplomacy in this war based on mediation, which is both in its interests, contributing to ensuring international security and initiating initiatives to end this war as soon as possible. I would like to express our pride in our diplomacy, which has managed to bring together the Foreign Ministers of the two warring countries in Antalya and the negotiating delegations in Istanbul. I would like to express my gratitude to our foreign service for showing our attitude towards peace to the world.”
“War only prevented the increase in export”
Stating that during Türkiye is striving for peace, as the export family they are looking for possible effects of this war and solutions, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle, said that in the early days of the war, they held an industry board meeting under the trade minister Mehmet Muş and evaluated the possible problems of all sectors and worked on alternative methods. TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle continued: “Although there have been some important developments in the commercial sense in the past period, the war continues with all its uncertainty. According to some international organizations, this war will cause a 1 percent contraction in the world economy. At the same time, a demand slowdown is also possible in the main markets of our export, the USA and EU countries. The war between the two countries, which are extremely rich in raw materials and energy sources, has also exposed sharp fluctuations in commodity prices and supply problems. Unfortunately, there are serious problems with exports to all three countries, let alone the indirect effects of the war on our export. We see a decrease of 38 percent in our exports to Russia, 81 percent in our exports to Ukraine, and 39 percent in our exports to Belarus in March. Therefore, for the moment, we can say that the war has only prevented the increase in export. However, the course of the war does not promise an atmosphere of peace anytime soon.”
TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle expressed the demands of exporters
Stating that there are outstanding issues and demands that the Turkish exporter has been subjected to due to the war, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “Increasing the number of lines and flights in passenger transportation will be useful to attract Russian citizens who are subjected to sanctions from western countries to our country. Among the demands are to apply more competitive prices for air shipments and to alleviate customs problems in shipments sent via Samsun. Logistical problems also rose in export to Russia. The fact that the sea route was completely closed, the European route was not working, which directed all traffic to Azerbaijan and Georgia. Delays and cost increase also occurred on this route. In addition, there are some problems with the introduction of export prices due to the exchange rate difference caused by sanctions.”
“We support our government and diplomatic representatives who continue their attempts to achieve peace”
Stating that Türkiye has experienced various wars and internal conflicts in its near geography throughout history, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “As the export family we know that after every darkness, there comes light. Therefore, we follow what happens patiently and cautiously. Our only hope is that the war that caused a great humanitarian drama will end as soon as possible. Goods can be restored, trade may improve, but the lives lost cannot be brought back. Therefore, I reiterate our support to our government and diplomatic representatives who continue their attempts to achieve peace.”
“Our policy of balance is important to us”
Stating that throughout history, Ukraine has been a region of contention between the west and east, Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Mehmet Samsar said, “During that period, the Ottoman Empire always emerged as an element of balance. In the solution phase of today's crisis, Türkiye is emerging as an element of balance again under the leadership of our President and with the contributions of our Foreign Minister. As our President said, we can give up neither Russia nor Ukraine. Therefore, our policy of balance here is important to us.”
“Our goal is to reach a common trade volume of 100 billion dollars”
Stating that economic and trade ties constitute the driving force in relations between Türkiye and the Russian Federation, Moscow Ambassador Mehmet Samsar said, “Russia is one of our most important foreign trade partners. In 2021, we observed that almost all relevant foreign trade flows left the effects of the pandemic period to a rapid recovery. With our increased export performance and recovering imports, we reached the second-highest bilateral trade volume of 34.7 billion dollars in 2021. Our common goal is to consolidate the performance of the increase in bilateral trade exceeding 55 percent in the coming period and to reach the common trade volume of over 100 billion dollars that our Presidents have identified as the target. As the state of the Republic of Türkiye, we continue our efforts in this direction together with our businessmen. Economic relations between Türkiye and Russia are not solely about the trade of goods. The two countries are particularly involved in the global service trade flows through their contracting services, tourism trade partnership, and cooperation. In 2021, the project, which exceeds 11 billion dollars undertaken by our builders, has brought its total project portfolio in Russia closer to 100 billion dollars. I would like to emphasize the importance of the contributions of our valued business people to the service trade in the development of trade relations between the two countries and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, especially TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle, for this success, which has been exemplary all over the world.”
$500 million in local money is targeted each month
Saying that credit cards and trade with local currencies were among the most important issues in terms of trade, Moscow Ambassador Mehmet Samsar said, “In 2019, an agreement was signed between the two countries on trade in local currencies. It was started to be used, but there was not such an intense need as in this period. Recently, a very close negotiation process has been going on between central banks in the context of local currencies and trade. If all goes normally, pilot projects will begin every month for a local currency trade of $500 million as of May. Of course, there needs to be a balance in foreign trade in terms of the use of local currencies, which is important here. Of course, this balance is not in question in our trade with Russia at this stage, but we hope that if we increase trade with local currencies, there will be a correct approach to this balance. For this purpose, we think it is important that our exporters trade in local currencies, especially in their recent contracts.”
“Foreign brands leaving here are trying to take advantage of various opportunities to return to Russia”
Stating that they have received requests for many Turkish clothing brands to come to Russia recently, Moscow Ambassador Mehmet Samsar said, “We are continuing our discussions in this direction. In the coming period, we will encourage more delegations from Türkiye to come here. Foreign brands leaving here are trying to take advantage of various opportunities to return to Russia. At this stage, it is very important for us that our recognized brands come here and take their place in shopping malls.”