TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu assessed his USA contacts on Global Markets on Bloomberg TV. ​


Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

USA’s “will to further economic relations” is promising

03.06.2011 / Washington ABD


TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu assessed his USA contacts on Global Markets on Bloomberg TV. ​


Observing a genuine will to further international relations with Turkey in both his meetings with Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright as well as other contacts, Hisarcıklıoğlu; “This was the thing that gave me the most hope.”

At the beginning of the show, in response to a question on the figures published in the USA pertaining to the inflation numbers in Turkey, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that with carefully considered precautions after the elections inflation would follow its usual course, “There is no cause for great concern. There is no possibility of seeing those historical double digit inflation numbers again. This is because at the head of both the Treasury and the Central Bank, there are bureaucratic and political staffs which keep track of the situation. Considered in this aspect, I think there is no cause for concern.”

- An assessment of the USA trip

Speaking of his USA visit, TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu said;
“When you look at the relations between Turkish and American governments, for the last 60 years they have been based on two things. Firstly, political relations. In the last 60 years, there have been very few times the relations between the two nations have been anything but amicable.

Secondly, military relations, defense relations, which gained importance with NATO. After 1952 Turkey has been agreeable with the USA in NATO. In our relations with the United States of America the most important thing we forgot about was the economic side of the relations. Unfortunately the economic side of things has stayed weak and continues to stay that way. Perhaps this was the most important side of our relations. If we stand in good stead with each other in the matters of politics and defense, so we should also stand in good stead economically.”

- Economic relations are too few

Stating that the United States of America is the largest economy in the world today, Hisarcıklıoğlu went on to say that Turkey is an industrial giant in its region. As world’s 16th largest economy, Turkey is the 6th largest economy in Europe, “In spite of this, of Turkey’s great success, economic relations between Turkey and the USA are so little as to be inconsequential and are getting worse. When we look at the numbers, in 2002 our total export here are around 3 billion dollars. That makes up 12% of our exports then. Today our exports have reached 120-130 billion dollars. Instead of growing, our exports to the US have stayed at the 3 billion dollar mark.”

- Work will not get done sitting down

Answering a question on TOBB’s role in Turkey taking part in the US market, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated;
“Our export to the whole world has increased lately. We export to over 200 countries, when you look at the figures there is an overall increase. Only country to which our exports do not increase is the USA. Its share in our total export volume is also decreasing. When you consider that the US spends about 2 trillion dollars worth in imports, our share of that is 0.2%. Meaning zero. That means we do not trade at all here. For the time ahead of us we need to be increasing our economic relations here in order empower our politicians and bureaucrats. I don’t want to put the blame on Americans. It was not in their interest. We waited around to be discovered in Turkey. This will not get done sitting down in Turkey. Then what should we be doing? We have to be taking a very active stance here. When you look at the US almost every state is a nation. Take California for example, it is the 6th largest economy in the world. We only went through Washington D.C. or New York. Of course, when you talk about Washington D.C., political relations always come to the fore. We need new mechanisms.”

Talking about his findings during his USA trip, Hisarcıklıoğlu, “I’ve been visiting the US for the last ten years. I have been making an effort especially to further our economic relations. I’ve encountered a very positive thing here; President Obama’s message, in both President Obama’s Turkey visit and our Esteemed President of the Republic’s Washington D.C., visit has started to spread. In my contacts I have seen a will to increase economic relations with Turkey as soon as possible. They are awaiting suggestions from us, which is very important. Meaning what we can do; how fast we can do it; long term relations; furthering relations; what we can do to increase economic relations.”

Stating that this was an unprecedented occasion, Hisarcıklıoğlu emphasized the importance of producing to American standards and making ourselves known in the US.


TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated in response to a question on the PNB Summit:
PNB is an initiative association that was formed as a result of President Obama’s Cairo speech with Madeleine Albright, Coca Cola CEO Muhtar Kent, Intel’s, Microsoft’s and Cisco’s CEOs among its members. We have also formed its counterpart in Turkey with the presidents of TÜSİAD, MÜSİAD, TUSKON, ASKON, TÜMSİAD; METU and Gaziantep University; Turkey regional Coca Cola, Intel, Cisco and Microsoft representatives; presidents all, from Şırnak Commerce Industry Chamber to Kocaeli Industry Chamber, to Kayseri Industry Chamber.

The real goal here is to further economic relations between Turkey and the USA. In this regard, and I say this with pride, there are no other tangible projects besides those of Turkey. During dinner with Hillary Clinton it was expressed that ‘the most concrete implementation has been put forth solely by Turkey’. However much we criticize ourselves, Turkey has come to the point where it can produce project, strategies and policies. We have had the chance to express all of this to Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright as well as the rest of PNB. The American government has expressed full support for our project. This is very important, the will is very important.”

- The fastest growing 25 companies

Stating that they would select Turkey’s 25 fastest growing companies, Hisarcıklıoğlu, “The fastest growing, not specifically the largest but the fastest growing. We will determine the 25 companies which have increased their turnover the fastest during the last 3 years along with Harvard University. We will pair these up with companies in similar businesses in the US. I put great importance on this.”

- The greatest inadequacy is information

Hisarcıklıoğlu continued his speech:
“Our greatest inadequacy is information: Americans don’t know Turkey, about the business possibilities and Turkey doesn’t know America’s scope. This is a great power. This is what we know. But how to do business, with whom, in what quantity is what we need to know. Where Europe orders one, the US orders a hundred. We are producing medium-tech products at the moment. This will give a great opportunity to ramp up to high-tech. Of couse, as Turkey, we also have another goal; to be one of the 10 largest economies by 2023, the centennial anniversary of the founding of our Republic. If we are to do this, how will we do it without selling our products to the United States of America; how will we increase our gross national product; how will we increase our production capacity?

- USA economy

Answering a question about American economy, Hisarcıklıoğlu replied:
“I’ve had contacts with the US Chamber of Commerce along with the IMF and World Bank. I’ve also had a chance to meet with American businessmen here. There is, of course, unrest with how things stand because of the drop in exchanges. The greatest indicator of economy in America is the stock exchange and unemployment numbers. We also pay close attention to the unemployment numbers but the stock exchange is less of a factor. There is, unfortunately, a great pessimistic mood because of the drop in stocks but I believe this can be overcome. It is here that the world’s greatest economic power rests and where the big economic decisions are made. Meaning they’ll save themselves and look to the world afterwards.

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