We have been facing a new era in international trade since the beginning of trade wars. Every day we are witnessing new sanctions, barriers and new regulations bounding international trade among countries. The trade war between the US and China, now spread all around the world and started to affect every region individually with the rising protectionism. Due to the volatility in Turkish Lira, we started to face difficulties in pricing strategies especially in our export markets. During this turmoil, we always took practical actions to minimize the struggles of our exporters, especially in financing their exports. Moreover, there is one other issue that we always underlined as TİM to our exporters. We said; “Do not take advantage of the discounted value of Lira in competition. Instead, invest in design, innovation and new product development to diversify your product portfolio, while targeting new markets.”
To point out the importance of design, we made a series of design events and exhibitions during this November. The prominent event among them was, undoubtedly, “Design Week Turkey 2018”, which took place between 16-18th November in coordination with the Ministry of Trade and visited by 52.300 design enthusiasts. 27 panels and 16 workshops were held with the participation of more than 80 panelists. Moreover, projects from more than 100 designers had the chance to be exhibited during the event. This year, the keynote speakers were Oliviero Toscani, Benjamin Hubert, Srini Srinivasan, Ralph Wiegmann, and Dilara Fındıkoğlu with their marvelous career and works in design ecosystem. This atmosphere was not only in Halic Congress Center, but also took place all around Istanbul to spread the design culture through the city.
While talking about design, the first thing that comes to mind is fashion. However, we must take design in a more exclusive point of view, since design is something solution oriented, simple, efficient and applicable to all kinds of business sectors from automobiles, defense industry to electronics, or textiles.
I always mention in every platform that “Our goal is to achieve a foreign trade surplus in our trade.” Therefore, we need to focus on value added production to compete in international markets. Thus, we need to place the design concept in every product that we produce. Turkey has risen many competent designers in our recent past. According to a research, Turkey has ranked as the seventh country for raising the best designers in the world. We have many distinguished designers who are carrying our flag around the world. However, we still need to generate a national strategy in design and create a better image for our products. The ideal Turkish product must be known with its creative design and unique structure. With a practical point of view, it would be proper to say that “Design Pays Back”. When we analyze the unit values among sectors, defense industry has 40 dollars, apparel has 15 dollars and automotive industry has 7 dollars per kilogram unit value while Turkey's average unit value stays around 1,36 dollars. Thus, it is crucial to create an understanding among all our exporters that investing in design pays back well. If our exporters want to achieve a leverage in their target markets, they should become competitive with design. We always support them with all our resources in coordination with our Ministry of Trade.
Last but not least, we attached the utmost importance to the selection of Istanbul as the “City of Design” among UNESCO's “Creative Cities” in 2018. Accordingly, I believe that “Design Week Turkey 2018” was such an event that deserves this award. Again, I would like to appreciate all of the participants and the organizers of the Design Week Turkey 2018 and I do look forward to meet you all in our upcoming events.