Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

“We are entering a new period in the global economy”

29.04.2014 / Greece

TOBB President, EUROCHAMBRES Vice President and ABC Board Member M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu attended the Association of Balkan Chambers (ABC) 1st General Assembly of 2014.​

Speaking in regards to the trends in the global economy during his speech, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Since 2008, we’ve had a very hard time. The global economic crisis hit our economies very bad. We have seen the negative effects of being too much connected to the core European countries. After good growth rates in the United States, now we are facing the recovery in the Eurozone countries. This is great news for our economies. But, we have to be careful. The upcoming period, will also be a hard period for us. We are now entering a new period in global economy. Four major trends, are rewriting the rules of the global economy.


After the global financial crisis, we have faced the QE period. I called this as the QUARANTINE period. FED kept the global economy under quarantine with more and more US dollar issuing. After recovery in the United States, the tapering period started. Fund flows into developing countries, will decrease. In other words, financing will be lower. This will make life harder for business in the long-run. New investments and growth will be harder. We have to set up our game plan. We need to develop instruments, for more cooperation among Balkan countries.


- “They will rewrite the rules”


Hisarcıklıoğlu, stating that the developing countries are taking a larger share of the global trade, said that the USA has taken steps to reverse this trend.


Stating that the USA is redesigning global trade, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP) was formed 3 years ago with 13 pacific countries.


“All major pacific countries, except China, will be in this partnership. Canada, Mexico, Australia, Korea, Chile, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore are some of the members. Last year, they also started the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union. These new partnerships account for two thirds of global economy. In other words, two thirds of the global economy is forming a new club.


This is not only a trade club. It’s also an investment club. They will set the rules of global trade, and the standards of all goods and services. This will affect all of us directly.


We, as Balkan countries, should be very careful at this moment. Because we are a part of Europe. Some of us are in the European Union, and the rest of us, are expecting to become a member in the upcoming years. There are two important problems at this point.


First of all, we have to investigate the possible effects of this new trade regime on the Balkan countries. The EU institutions are working on some research reports, but all of them are focusing on core European countries. So, we have to initiate a new research report, focusing on the impacts of TTIP on Balkan economies. And, we have to start lobbying in Brussels for our rights.


Secondly, as you all know, not all of us are EU members. But, we have customs union or FTAs with the EU. So, we will be an open market for the American and Pacific firms. But their markets will be closed for us. As Balkan countries, we have to defend our rights collectively. And we have to ask the European Commission to include all Balkan countries to the TTIP. I believe our Greek friends can help us, in these efforts, as the term president of the European Union.


- “Drawing in entrepreneurs will be a key factor for success”


Stating that countries are fighting to attract innovative entrepreneurs, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “The USA and Canada give easy visas to entrepreneurs. Innovation companies are settling down in the USA day by day. The numbers confirm this. Of the entrepreneurs working in Silicon Valley, 52% were born outside the USA.


It is obvious that in the upcoming years, countries which attract more entrepreneurs will gain most. Importing entrepreneurs will be a key success factor. But, as Balkan countries, we are losing our entrepreneurs. We should have a strategy to attract more and more entrepreneurs.”


- “Countries are competing with their cities”


Emphasizing the increasing importance of cities, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Middle class is growing all around the world and they live in cities. Today 1.5 billion people live in the world’s top six hundred cities. Half of the world’s GDP comes from these cities.


In ten years’ time, the population of these cities will reach to 2 billion. Their economic power will expand too. This means cities are the major attractiveness of the countries. Nowadays countries are competing with their cities. As Balkan countries, we should also be careful about this trend change. We should invest more and more in our cities. This is also very important to be successful in tourism.


- Turkey’s goal is 50 million tourists


Stating that, as Balkan countries they are very fortunate in regards to tourism, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We have nature, culture, history. We are having more than 70 million tourists each year. But, only France is getting 83 million tourists each year. This means, we have more potential.


I am very glad to tell you that, Turkey was the 6th tourism destination, in the world in 2013. Over the last 7 years the number of tourists, who visited Turkey, has increased by 60%.


Our goal is to attract 50 million tourists, and have 50 billion USD in income from tourism. But, Turkey is not the only location, to have strong potential in our region. With their natural beauties, and historical background, all Balkan countries have far more tourism potential than we imagine. The only thing, we should do, is cooperation, and joint projects.


For example, we can arrange joint tourism packages, in order to attract more tourists from Far East, America and from the Pacific countries. If tourists from those countries want to see, İstanbul, Athens, Sarajevo and Bucharest in a tour, we should provide them the best option, with our joint effort. And, we should design our cities accordingly. Every city should have a different characteristic. They should be different, not similar. They should complement each other. Turkey has a great experience on tourism sector. Also Greece is very successful in tourism. I think, we, as Balkan business community, can start a new period.  Also, we need our governments’ strong support. If there is no government help, our efforts will not be successful.”


Accompanying Hisarcıklıoğlu during ABC’s General Assembly were TOBB Board Member Ebubekir Bal and TOBB Foreign Affairs Commission Member Ergün Efendioğlu.

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