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How Will the Global Crisis Affect Turkey Export Target?

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State Minister K
Plans call for Turkey’s exports to reach USD 125 billion by the end of 2008. The target established for 2010 is USD 200 billion. Will Turkey be able to reach that figure, and to what extent will the current crisis affect targets? How will the crisis in the USA, the greatest importer in the world, affect the purchasing power of the US and the exports of other countries? We asked Kürşad Tüzmen, State Minister responsible for Foreign Trade, about Turkey’s foreign trade strategy in the near future and about its short and long term goals.
 
What point have the activities aimed at the US reached? What is planned for the future?

Within the framework of our strategy to develop trade and investment relations with the USA, we first carried out a series of technical activities in order to establish target states and sector groups.
 
Now we have reached the stage when activities aimed at particular markets and in accordance with established targets will be carried out. In the meantime, we have also focused on activities to launch a promotion campaign, which constitutes the most important leg of the strategy. These activities can be divided in two groups, long term and short term.
 
The activities we can define as long term aim to a large extent to consolidate the image of Turkey and of Turkish products. Within this framework, for example, the Turquality project and other activities by groups promoting hazelnuts, leather and ceramics aims to consolidate the image of Turkish products and to emphasize the element of quality.

The implementation of the strategy to develop trade with the USA will continue over the next few years, but we need to keep in mind that we need to be patient for investments in the US market to produce results.

Can you tell us about programs taking place in the near future?

A trade delegation traveled to Miami at the end of April 2008 and another to the state of Georgia in October 2008. Meetings were held with delegations of 20-25 people, especially on a sectoral basis. Other activities planned for the near future include active participation in important fairs, inviting Investors and Out-sourcing Delegations, the organization of reciprocal seminars, the intensification of sectoral promotional activities in the US market, and the development of collaboration among private sector organizations.
 
Activities conducted by promotion groups and the targeting of the US market are also continuing. The Turkish Leather Fair, begun by the Leather Promotion Group and first organized in January 2008, will become a traditional element and a brand.
 
The project begun in 2007 in conjunction with the Turco-American Businessmen’s Association in the state of California with the aim of establishing a communication network between Turkish and American companies will be completed in 2008.
 
In 2008 we are also planning to invite purchasing delegations from US chain stores, exclusively for Turkey and to show American importers all the production stages of Turkish products from all sectors.
 
On the other hand, seminars held in Turkey for food and automotive products to promote the US market will continue to be held in other sectors too.

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