ICI Holds Seminar on Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia State

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Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ICI) organized an online seminar about Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia State to introduce the investment and business opportunities in the state to Turkish industrialists and businesspeople. The event, which was organized via a video conference, was hosted by ICI Vice Chairman İrfan Özhamaratlı and attended by the Turkish Consul General to Dusseldorf, Ayşegül Gökçen Karaarslan. The event was followed by a large number of industrialists and businesspeople who wanted to discuss the opportunities in the region and sought answers to their questions.

At his opening speech, the ICI Vice Chairman İrfan Özhamaratlı first touched upon the economic relations between Türkiye and Germany. Saying that bilateral relations have been on the rise since the 19th century, Özhamaratlı pointed out Germany's importance as an economic partner for Türkiye. "To put that in perspective, the exports to Germany reached $19.3 billion in 2021, and imports $21.7 billion" said Özhamaratlı. "Germany, with a total volume of $41 billion, is our country's largest trading partner; it also ranks first among the countries our country exports to, and third in imports. There are 7,853 German-owned companies in Türkiye, and around 80,000 Turkish companies in Germany.” 

İrfan Özhamaratlı pointed to the geographical location and economic potential of Germany's North-Rhine Westphalia State and said that the region has access to a population of 160 million with Europe's highest purchasing power and is attracting many companies in terms of investments with its advanced infrastructure as well as highly qualified workforce. Özhamaratlı said, "There are approximately 700 Turkish companies in the region, and this number is increasing every day. This region has more than 20,000 international companies with investments in almost every sector, particularly in chemistry, automotive, machinery, food, electricity, electronics, and plastic. North Rhine-Westphalia State, which is the most important region of Germany with its high economic potential, should be evaluated more on behalf of Turkish industry and economy."

Ayşegül Gökçen Karaarslan, Turkish Consul-General to Dusseldorf, expressed her gratitude for the seminar to the ICI and said that she believes the trade relations will continue with such valuable collaborations. Reminding the presence of four Turkish Consulate Generals in the State of North Westphalia, Karaarslan emphasized the region's importance for Türkiye. "There is no such practice in any other country" she said. "The North Westphalia State has great commercial opportunities and the State's government, both as the Ministry of Commerce and local municipalities, is very welcoming to Turkish companies that want to invest."

NRW Global Business's Türkiye's Representation Office Director, Dr. Adem Akkaya also made a presentation at the seminar with the topic of "The Gateway to European Markets: North Rhine-Westphalia State" and said that the North Rhine-Westphalia is the state with the highest economic power among all the states of Germany. Akkaya highlighted the region's economic potential and said that the North Rhine-Westphalia State accounts for 25 percent of Germany's total production. He also mentioned the trade relations between Türkiye and the State and said, "The exports to Türkiye from Northern Rhine-Westphalia are mainly metals, machinery, chemical products, vehicles, and vehicle parts, and the exports to the North Rhine-Westphalia from Türkiye are ready-to-wear clothing, food, machinery, vehicle and vehicle parts".

Presenting "Turkish Companies in North Rhine-Westphalia" at the seminar, Akın Okumuş, NRW Global Business Türkiye Investor Relations Manager, said that Turkish companies are interested in investing because the state has the world's largest convention center and a huge metropolitan structure. Okumuş noted that Turkish companies considering investment in the state have the opportunity to open stores, production plants, or purchase German companies operating in the region, or engage in activities by forming partnerships. Okumuş said that Turkish companies mainly operate in the sectors of textile, ready-to-wear, food, chemistry, automotive, and logistics.

In the section about 'The Importance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia for Turkish Investors and Export Supports Provided by Our Country', Anıl Gürtuna Kaya, Turkish Ministry of Trade, Commercial Attaché in Düsseldorf, gave information about the support provided to investors by both the German and Turkish Governments. "Türkiye offers rent support for up to four years to investors who want to open stores or showrooms in the state, as well as providing aid to investors for marketing and advertising expenses" said Kaya. "In addition, Germany provides loan facilities to investors who want to invest, provided that they increase the employment and production of the region."

In the 'Opportunities of North Rhine-Westphalia Through the Eyes of Investors' section of the seminar, Mehmet Er, the owner of the company Tadım Emsdetten and İbrahim Aktaş, the owner of the company ÇiğKöftem Neuss informed participants about the activities and experiences of their companies in the region. Questions from the audience were answered by the panelists at the end of the seminar.