Consul General from 34 Countries and Their Representatives Came Together in the Reception of Istanbul Chamber of Industry

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Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ICI) organized a reception hosted by Zeynep Bodur Okyay ICI Assembly Chairperson, the President of ICI Assembly and Erdal Bahçıvan, the President of ICI Board of Directors with the aim of improving cooperation with foreign representatives operating in Istanbul. Sadık Ayhan Saruhan, the Vice President of Icı Board of Directors, Vehbi Canpolat, Cemal Keleş, Mustafa Tacir, ICI Board of Directors Members and ICI Assembly Members participated in the reception for which consul generals from 34 countries and their representatives participated and foreign country missions attached high importance.

Starting his speech which he made at the beginning of the reception by thanking for the representatives of the foreign country for their participation, Erdal Bahçıvan, ICI President provided a brief information about the place and importance of Istanbul in Turkish economy.

İSO Başkanı Erdal Bahçıvan
Erdal Bahçıvan, ICI President

“As ICI, we represent the production capacity of Istanbul which is the flagship of Turkish economy. Istanbul which is the center of industrial manufacture is the milestone of our economy. Furthermore, 31 percent of Gross Domestic Product of Turkey is provided by Istanbul. 51 percent of export and 54 percent of import were realized through Istanbul.”

About ICI, expressing that “the capacity, role and function of the members of Istanbul Chamber of Industry which is the most active representative of real sector in Istanbul have been increasing since 1952 when it was established, Bahçıvan stated that the ICI members have an important place in foreign economic relations of our country and added that: “I would like to express that as ICI, we have adopted a vision which follows the global developments and attaches importance to the international cooperation to support the international competitive capacity of our members.”

Continuing his speech with his assessment about the developments experienced in the world and Turkish economy and potential expectations, Bahçıvan stated that:

“2019 was a year when ambiguity and tension were significantly high in terms of the whole world. Commercial tension between USA and China, the biggest two economies of the world transformed into a war fueled by the mutual retorsion activities. Global trade volume shrank and economical trust and investments became weak. Another subject which was a deadlock for the world in 2019 was Brexit. Brexit which caused various obstacles before the English economy for three and a half year and created an important ambiguity for the whole world, especially EU was concluded at the end of the last month. However, there are numerous uncertainties about this transformation process which will continue until the end of this year.”

Bahçıvan expressed his opinions about Turkish opinions that: “2019 is a never-forgotten year when we endeavored to set the economic balance after a deep financial fluctuation as a country. Furthermore, the value of Istanbul Chamber of Industry Manufacturing PMI Index which is the leading indicator of the manufacturing sector as 51,3 in January and the transition to the positive area after 22 months were the best examples of this situation. We consider the strongest improvement of the last five month with the value of 51.1 in ICI Turkish Export Climate Index, another economic indicator which we have announced today as another indicator of the recovery in our economy. Despite of such improvements, improvement of the investment atmosphere in the following period and setting the trust on a permanent basis is our most primary priority.

I would like to express that we are expecting for your contributions and supports to receive directs investments on international basis for Turkey and we are ready for cooperation in this sense.”

Bahçıvan continued his words with the projects of ICI so that its members could be adapted to the changes and transformations in the world swiftly. ICI provided information about numerous events varying from Digital Transformation and ICI Academy to ICI Vocational Training Project and support studies to export activities of companies and “Country Days” events which provide opportunity to get familiar with different countries and cultures and to handle the investment and international trade opportunities in such countries. Bahçıvan provided information about the events organized for our sectors and firms in the journey of “sustainability” for the guests.

Zeynep Bodur Okyay, ICI Assembly President presented her speech for the guests at the beginning of the event. Starting her speech by assessing the EU-Turkey relations, Okyay said that: “I believe that the most fundamental way to produce solution for the distance which was intensified because of the prejudices and internal policy in EU-Turkey relations was to establish more dialog and sincerity. Instead of closing the doors and starting to wait, we should be open for establishing dialog and come together with our addressees and share our problems, expectations and more importantly our reciprocal interest areas diligently. Instead of focusing on the problems, we can never get a better time to focus on our common future and common values.”

İSO Meclis Başkanı Zeynep Bodur Okyay
Zeynep Bodur Okyay
ICI Assembly President

Okyay, ICI Assembly President expressed that our expectation from Turkey-EU relations can be summarized under three titles as “update of Customs Union”, “visa liberalization dialog” and “membership negotiations” in the following period.

Expressing that even though Customs Union which already completed its 25th year enabled us to have a position to compete in the global scale by increasing Turkey’s competitive capacity in manufacturing sector in the first period, it has transformed into a structure which operates against Turkey, Okyay underlined that the asymmetry which caused Turkey to lose its position against third countries because of not being able to be included in STAs realized by EU is one of the primary subjects which should be dealt with firstly.

Bringing the subject services sector which could not be included in the Customs Union to the agenda, Okyay stated that: “It is not possible to conduct an agreement structure which does not include this sector in a healthy way in today’s world where the added value of services sector has reached to 40s% within the manufacturing industry.”

Mentioning about the importance of visa liberalization, Okyay, ICI Assembly President stated that: “We have met most the of the criteria which we are liable for meeting in the Route Map of Visa Liberalization. Meeting the rest of the criteria and the technical process itself should not be sacrificed in the political processes.”

Emphasizing that the completion of membership negotiations which are at the point of stopping actually since the first day, Zeynep Bodur Okyay said that: “It is of vital importance for our country if EU which serves as an anchor for Turkey all the time continue to be reference for the steps required to be taken in the reform process of Turkey. The relations between Turkey and European Union is not only limited to the negotiation process naturally. There is a partnership relation for almost 60 years between us. We should not ignore the advantages of this partnership.”

Many ICI assembly members and guests participating in the reception seized the opportunity to talk to the consul generals after the speeches.