Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

“We demand lower tax rates for e-commerce platforms”

08.05.2020 / Ankara

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu in regards to the Digital Service Tax this year by the government, “We demand that the tax rates be reduced for e-commerce platforms that digitize our SMEs and bring their services to consumers.”​

Hisarcıklıoğlu attended the digital launch meeting of the solidarity campaign “e-Commerce Stands with SMEs,” held with the participation of Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has the world in its grasp, and that Turkey's efforts so far have been successful.

Hisarcıklıoğlu expressed that the Ministry of Commerce has given power to the country and the business world with measures taken against the crisis, pointing to the importance of the work done in this process.

Hisarcıklıoğlu noted Pekcan’s call on e-commerce companies and to support SMEs two weeks ago, recalling that e-commerce sector stakeholders announced support programs in answer to this call.

Hisarcıklıoğlu explained that even small businesses began to sell products to all of Turkey by cargo during the epidemic process, “There is a rule of trade. If there is a crowd, there is a market and opportunity. Electronic media is now our new market, our new opportunity. We need to make good use of this opportunity. Retail e-commerce volume reached 83 billion liras in Turkey. Electronic commerce grows by an average of 35% a year.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu underlined that by accelerating digital transformation, SMEs' products and services should be brought together with the needs of consumers, and that as TOBB, they extoll the importance of e-commerce and e-exports on every platform.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they have carried out 71 activities in this field so far, teaching how to trade online to more than 68,000 SMEs and the benefits of digitalization, “Our biggest strength as Turkey is our SMEs. Our SMEs will adapt to the new era. Our task here is to pioneer this process, to speed it up.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu noted that the trust seal given to e-commerce sites is an important step in this field, emphasizing that thanks to the institutionalization of e-commerce with trust seals, they aim to eliminate the lack of trust consumers experience when shopping online.

Hisarcıklıoğlu said that the government has commissioned the Digital Service Tax this year, “There is only one rate of tax for all digital service providers through turnover. I think there's an injustice here. That's why we demand lower tax rates for e-commerce platforms that digitize our SMEs and provide service to consumers. I forwarded this request to Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak last week at the Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Committee. As Minister of Commerce, I believe that you will follow up on this.”

- Minister Pekcan 

Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan also noted the importance of digitalization in terms of the transformation of the Turkish economy according to the requirements of the age.

Pekcan expressed that they attach importance to digitalization and automation in ministry services and update their work, “We are pleased to be one of the most effective uses of digital technologies in almost every area where we operate from our services in customs to state supports, from administrative services to our tradesmen to the education support services we provide to all our citizens.”

Pekcan stated that the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak once again demonstrates the importance of adapting to the digital economy, and said that they will continue to contribute to the country's progress towards becoming a digital economy.

Pekcan stated that they are continuing the development of projects and applications in innovative areas such as machine learning and blockchain technologies, “Unlike many countries, instead of the wait-see approach in the next generation of technologies, we proactively evaluate our options together with the private sector.”

Explaining that they have started to implement applications such as virtual trade delegations and virtual fairs, Pekcan said that they have already established the infrastructure of innovative approaches for the period after the Covid-19 outbreak.

Pekcan also mentioned the Virtual Trade Academy platform, so far 17,238 people have registered with the academy and 2,345 people completed the trainings and have received their certificates.

Pekcan noted that work is also continuing on “National Women Exporter Network Platform” and “Angel Investor Network” projects.

Pekcan noted that “e-Commerce Stands with SMEs” campaign aims to introduce more SMEs to e-commerce, as well as to encourage the more qualified use of internet and e-commerce, “We aim to bring solutions to our small businesses that are suffering from marketing shortages through this campaign. We want our SMEs to grow and institutionalize through e-commerce and enjoy the fruits of their labors. We hope that local products and local producers will be able to market their products with efficiency through e-commerce and get added value.”

Pekcan emphasized that they will follow up on the project as the Ministry in order to achieve the goals of the campaign, “I invite our SMEs to benefit from the opportunities brought by this campaign. I always invite all our companies, SMEs, to explore e-commerce opportunities and to adopt digital technologies. As the Ministry of Commerce, we will always continue to be a supporter of our companies.”

Pekcan expressed that e-commerce provides great opportunities for businesses to reach potential customers on a global scale comprehensively, quickly and effectively, “Our citizens' interest in e-commerce is increasing. In this context, we welcome the proliferation of our domestic companies in our country, from online platform providers to payment systems and logistics distribution providers, developing strongly with all elements of the system. It is not difficult to assess that Turkey can be an important and decisive actor in the global e-commerce market when we take into account the tendency of our citizens to use the internet, the geopolitical strategic position of our country, and especially our young and dynamic population.”

Pekcan, pointing out that the Ministry has done important work focusing directly on the field of e-commerce, said they have created the Electronic Trade Information System (ETBİS) to increase confidence in this area. 

Noting the importance of being reliable in e-commerce, Pekcan said that in order to increase the number of e-traders and the volume of e-commerce, the perceptions of trust of consumers should be maintained.

Pekcan noted, within the scope of the campaign, e-commerce sites, infrastructure providers and payment organizations will become members of e-commerce sites or increase existing e-commerce activities, which will provide new financial and technical conveniences to SMEs; she thanked the industry organizations which support the campaign.

- Organizations which support the campaign

The campaign is supported by 16 electronic commerce sites, 3 electronic commerce infrastructure providers, 2 virtual markets, 1 virtual food service, 2 payment organizations and 1 non-governmental organization. The organizations are: Sahibinden.com, Yemeksepeti.com, Amazon.com, Gittigidiyor, Getir.com, Hepsiburada, Arçelik, Cimri.com, N11.com, Trendyol, Akakçe, Safamerve, Modanisa, Migros Virtual Market, Epttavm, Globalpiyasa.com, Ideasoft, Electronic Trading Enterprises Association, İpara, Farmasi, Chemorbis, Steelorbis, Stemia.com, Mutlubiev.com and Platinum Market.

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