Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

Hisarcıklıoğlu calls on EU for solution to visa and transportation quotas

27.01.2023 / İzmir

The Opening Meeting of the European Union Information Centers Network Project and the ‘Skills of the Digital Age’ Panel were held in İzmir with the participation of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB) President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu and the Head of the European Union Delegation to Türkiye Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut.​

TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu, speaking at the opening of the event organized with the theme of ‘Skills of the Digital Age’ within the scope of the European Skills Year, said that the EU Information Centers project has been carried out since 1996 and that the project aims to create information and awareness about the European Union and Türkiye-EU relations involving all segments of society.

Stating that relations with the European Union are extremely important for Türkiye’s modernization and enrichment process, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We, as TOBB, always keep relations with the EU at the top of our priorities. The Customs Union has been the most important tool for the transformation of Türkiye’s production capacity. The accession negotiations have further expanded and deepened Türkiye’s transformation process. In recent years, the accession process has stalled. As the Turkish business world, we are not happy with this situation.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that given the current problems facing Türkiye and European Union countries, the need to revive relations has become apparent.

Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “The conditions created by the Covid-19 Pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war require Türkiye and the EU to work more closely. Issues of strategic importance such as energy security, food security in particular should be included in the Türkiye-EU common work areas. Green transformation and digital transformation and the development of the skills required by this transformation should be another important area of cooperation.”

Emphasizing that skills should be developed in accordance with the needs of the age, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “New generations should go to the employment market with the equipment appropriate to the needs of the future economy. In short, education adds value to our human capital. It supports the increase of the competitiveness of our business world. Likewise, the modernization of the customs union will make significant contributions for the Turkish and EU business world. Essentially, we are thinking about green transformation, digital transformation and modernization of the Customs Union together. In this respect, I think that the mechanism of the Türkiye Investment Platform, announced by the EU in İstanbul in October, is very important. We want this mechanism to become functional as soon as possible.”

On the other hand, Hisarcıklıoğlu mentioned that the visa issue for business people has reached more serious dimensions in the recent period and continued: “Transportation quotas continue to adversely affect our bilateral trade. We need to find immediate solutions to the visa and transport quota issues. The proportion of EU enterprises seeking information about Türkiye, including the Customs Union, has increased compared to 2013. Companies support the updating of the Customs Union. Businesses in the European Union also support cooperation between the EU and Türkiye on the Green Deal and the digital single market. In short, there is a very favorable environment to further develop Türkiye-EU economic relations. The views expressed by Turkish and EU companies in the field study are clearly reflected in bilateral trade relations. In the last quarter century, our mutual trade volume has increased 4 times. As of 2022, Türkiye-EU trade in goods has reached $196 billion. The EU is Türkiye’s largest export and import partner. Around a quarter of our imports originate from the EU. Approximately 41% of Türkiye’s exports are made to the EU. Türkiye is the 6th largest trading partner of the EU. The EU also ranks first in foreign investments in Türkiye.”

Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut said that the Network of Centers of the European Union Project plays an important role in cooperation with Türkiye and communication with the economic world. Pointing out that the project will be mutually beneficial within the scope of the Customs Union, Meyer-Landrut said, “The chambers that provide accurate and appropriate information about the European Union, which is based on unity with societies and the business world, throughout the country, have an important place in the studies carried out. As the EU Delegation to Türkiye, we always offer our support to you and hope that this cooperation will be beneficial in the coming years.”

The meeting continued with the panel titled “Skills of the Digital Age” which was held closed to the press.

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