Speaking at the DEİK 2011 Regular General Assembly, TOBB and DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that in 2012, the EU market would shrink in terms of credit and foreign currency income, saying, “We must go to geographies we have neglected until today and discover the world. We must take our businessmen and companies to these areas. Chief among these areas are Asia and South America.” Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that Asia should be used as an importation base, not exportation.​


Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

The EU market is shrinking. We need to go to the areas we’ve neglected

28.12.2011 / İstanbul


Speaking at the DEİK 2011 Regular General Assembly, TOBB and DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that in 2012, the EU market would shrink in terms of credit and foreign currency income, saying, “We must go to geographies we have neglected until today and discover the world. We must take our businessmen and companies to these areas. Chief among these areas are Asia and South America.” Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that Asia should be used as an importation base, not exportation.​


Emphasizing that we also need to facilitate and support the operations of companies overseas, Hisarcıklıoğlu suggested that “Turkish Trade Gateway” offices in target markets be opened in order to permit easier reach to new markets and increase our share.

The 2011 General Assembly of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) was held in Istanbul with the attendances of the TOBB and DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, Minister of Economy Zafer Çağlayan, Customs and Commerce Minister Hayati Yazıcı, Minister of Treasury Mehmet Şimşek, DEİK Executive Council President Rona Yırcalı and DEİK founder, former Minister of Industry and Commerce Minister Ali Coşkun.

TOBB and DEİK President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu related how DEİK is the Turkish business world’s gateway to the outside.
Stating that this year, DEİK has undertaken nearly 700 activities, fulfilling its purpose, Hisarcıklıoğlu said that the driving force pushing them forward is unity and solidarity.

- “Nobody can predict how things will take shape”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that today, on one side European economies are quaking at their foundations and rightful demands for change and transformation are being voiced ever more loudly in the other direction. Stating that strong economies are shaking, TOBB and DEİK President Hisarcıklıoğlu said:

“That which we knew to be right yesterday is questioned today. Those who claimed to be setting up the game yesterday can’t even read their own cards today. Nobody can predict what will happen during this unforeseen process of change. A new world order is being constructed in this process. This process of change is much different than those encountered before. Because not only the rules of the game, but the game itself is changing.

Madeleine Albright, who we met in recent months, criticized the oft-cited chess image of diplomacy. This impressed me deeply. ‘Diplomacy isn’t like a single dimensional chess game. It is more akin to a pool game,’ she said, ‘You aim at a ball and make your move, you hit the ball with your cue so as to cause it to hit the other ball. However, a series of other balls are in motion by then. After every move, the situation changes on the whole table, not just where you were operating. Without a doubt, at least two balls move each turn.’ In today’s atmosphere of chaos we must consider carefully the ball we’re hitting as well as the balls that that ball will and where it will bounce off the table to obtain results.

Now, strategies need to be tailored to this new game. Reflexes need to be faster than ever. Decision-making processes need to be faster than ever. It is no longer possible to read and create the game from a single point. We always have to be on the move, always proactive.

As Turkey, as the Turkish business world, we have to be faster than everyone else; our reflexes need to work faster. Because the center of the change is the geography which Turkey is located in. On the one hand countries to our west are falling to economic crises, to our south and east countries are succumbing to political crises. Turkey is directly affected by the developments in both regions. But let us not forget that being close to danger is being close to opportunity.

If we can make good use of this process in which everyone is focused on their own problems and take the steps we need to take with due haste, we will be the ones who win at the end of this painful process. We must succeed in this! And be sure that we will succeed!

In this process, we must shoulder important duties. For you are the opinion leaders of the economy, the pathfinders. The business world follows the path you pick. We must open channels to the right areas in order to be a conduit in the right direction.”

- Economic crisis in the EU

Stating that EU is faced with a major economic problem today, Hisarcıklıoğlu said that Turkey has proven the dynamism and endurance of its economy to the world despite all odds.
M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu went on:

“In the last nine months our growth rate, based on the private sector, has been recorded as 9.6%. As developed countries shook, we took the wind in our sails and went full speed ahead! Our production industry volume is expected to reach 118 billion Dollars. The machinery and equipment investments made as the private sector are expected to reach 85 billion Dollars. In only the last 9 months, we have provided registered employment to 1.1 million people. On the other hand EU countries have declared over 10% deficits while our economy is nearing a balanced budget.

However, the economic crisis in the European Union does not look like it is going to be solved anytime soon. The possibility that this crisis will affect us in 2012 is high. This is because the EU economy is important for us in three aspects: Firstly, 46% of Turkey’s exports are sold to the EU; Secondly, 60% of tourists visiting our country are from the EU; Third, 70% of foreign investments to Turkey are sourced in the EU.”

- Call for neglected markets

According to the calculations of the Europe Banking Institution, the banks in Europe have a deficit of 106 billion Euros. European banks need to lower their debt stocks by 1 trillion Euros to close off this deficit. It is for this reason that the EU market will shrink both in terms of foreign currency as well as a source of credit.

This is where your role begins. We have to go to regions we have neglected to this day, to rediscover the world. We must take our businessmen and companies to these places. Chief among these regions are Asia and South America.

According to a study, in 2050, 12 of the world’s largest 30 economies will be in Asia. Even today, 30 of the 50 busiest container seaports are found in Asia, as well as 10 of the 30 most active airports. The new center of attraction of the global trade brings about unlimited opportunities along with it. One of today’s largest exporters, China, will become the world’s largest importer by 2015. We are nowhere to be found in these regions.

Taking advantage of the crisis in Europe, we must turn to these neglected regions. We are rapidly taking a stance as DEİK regarding this. We have established business councils in 8 Asian and 8 African countries. Just this morning we have decided to establish 6 business councils in South America. With these, our business council count will reach 109, country count will reach 106. We will continue to blaze a trail, to lead the way.”

- “Political problems in the Middle East and Africa may negatively affect trade relations” warning

Drawing attention to the fact that political problems in the Middle East and Africa negatively affect our trade with the regions, Hisarcıklıoğlu warned that our short term trade relations could be adversely affected as a result.

Pointing out two things we must watch out for during the process of change, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “The first is the decrease of commodity sources and an increase in prices. The second is urbanization and new opportunities due to an increasing middle class.”

In the coming days world politics will be shaped around two subjects, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, energy and food sources.
Touching on the rapid urbanization throughout the world, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Rising market economies with this transformation; aeronautics, tourism, health, infrastructure, energy and retail sectors bring about new business and investment opportunities. It is of the utmost importance that we provide all kinds of information and support regarding these urbanized markets to our companies. Our companies need to formulate their entry strategies to these new markets rapidly.

Without a doubt, you will be taking on a large role in this process. To this day, our SMEs have conducted business all over the world with no knowledge of foreign language or maps. However, the age is changed. Competition is tougher than ever. The world spins faster than ever. Systems for doing business are rapidly evolving. In this new process we must provide service properly to our entrepreneur who is aiming for exports and investment.

- “Turkish Trade Gateway Offices”

Almost all countries ahead of us in the exports listings in the world are providing services to their companies via offices in target countries. These offices are managed with a private sector mindset. The operations of our companies need to be facilitated and supported overseas. In order to reach new markets and increase our market shares, we should opening up “Turkish Trade Gateway Offices”. As DEİK, we have been conducting work to this end for a long time.

For instance, The German Union of Chambers, with the aid of the German government, has established the best structure of Europe. Just as the German Union of Chambers operates offices in China with 260 personnel and serves its own industrialists. We want to do this with our Ministers as DEİK, to open trade offices all over the world.

We have neglected a veritable treasury right under our noses for years. We have thousands of entrepreneurs, investors living all around us. Today, just the investments of our citizens living in Europe total 10 billion Euros. These are our natural business partners. They were scattered until today. They did not know about us and we didn’t know about them. Now, we are beginning to consolidate this power.”

- “We can build both a native plane and a car”

“We have big goals,” said the TOBB and DEİK President; that they plan to be one of the 10 largest economies of the world by 2023, to raise the exports volume to 500 billion Dollars, to increase personal yearly income to 20,000 Dollars. “The eyes of the world are upon us. This is what I see everywhere I go. You are the margraves of the business world! You are the ones who make an effort to blaze new trails. We can make our own automobile or our own airplane. We want to run, we have the energy to do so, the courage and the power. Those in this hall can do it. I heartily believe this.”

- Turkish Diasporas getting organized on country and city basis

Touching on the structure of the Turkish Diasporas, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that while on the one hand we realize our economic potential, on the other they plan on increasing the efficiency of the Diasporas, “For this reason, in the days ahead we will be establishing our Diasporas on the basis of country and city organization. In addition to our regional committees will be organized into representing our diasporas in countries and cities, to create a network that can work in cooperation with the motherland.”

- Minister of Treasury Mehmet Şimşek

The Minister of Treasury Mehmet Şimşek, speaking at the General Assembly of DEİK, stated that the concerns regarding Europe have reached an advanced stage; the perception of risk has increased significantly.

Treasury Minister Mehmet Şimşek said, referring to decreasing the economic fragility in 2012 and afterwards, “Turkey may accomplish a soft landing yet. We have taken serious precautions to slow the credit volume. There is significant slowing in the credit volume; this means the establishment of the foundation of a slow landing.”

- Minister of Customs and Commerce Hayati Yazıcı

Minister of Customs and Commerce Hayati Yazıcı stated that Turkey will no longer be the country that loses at the negotiation table, “France will see that they have gone into a no-exit street. The lobbying you businessmen do will have an important role in this.”

- “Joint Gate Model”

Yazıcı stated that they have, in cooperation with neighboring countries, started developing new methods of simplifying customs procedures.

With the new “paperless” era they will start in customs, traders will be able to add claims electronically to a customs declaration without coming to the customs office, signed electronically from their office.

- Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan

Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan stated in his speech that they are working with DEİK and Turkey Exporters Council (TİM) to provide all the investors, entrepreneurs and exporters of Turkey all over the world with service from a single source, “We are hoping to complete this structure within 10 days when we can give you the joyous news.”

After the speeches, a commemorative photo was taken.

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