The United Kingdom Will Offer Great Opportunities to Turkish Contractors in The New Era


Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) continues its “TİM Export Talks” online panels organized with ambassadors to draw the direction of trade during and after the pandemic process. The last of the panels were organized with the title “What Opportunities Are There in the United Kingdom Post-Brexit?” Turkish Ambassador to London Ümit Yalçın and TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle attended the panel.

Emphasizing that the exports to the United Kingdom will reach even better levels in the new period with the Free Trade Agreement, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “In 2001, our exports, which were 2.2 billion dollars to the United Kingdom, increased five times to 11.2 billion dollars.” Turkish Ambassador to London Ümit Yalçın said, “The contracting sector can do a lot of work here.”

Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), the only umbrella organization of 100,000 exporters with 61 exporter associations and 27 sectors, continues its efforts to reduce the effects of international trade that is shrinking during the Covid-19 process and to take a stronger place in the new world order that will occur at the end of the process. TİM organizes TİM Export Talks programs to improve the mobility of exporter companies in foreign markets and to inform companies about current developments in export markets with the global pandemic. TİM Export Talks, which hosted our ambassadors in 2020 and where opportunities were evaluated in China, the Netherlands, the United States, and the European Union, continued with a panel discussion focusing on the United Kingdom which left the European Union through the Brexit process, and the export potential with the Free Trade Agreement, this year.

The panel was held live on TİM's social media accounts with the title “What Opportunities Are There in the United Kingdom After Brexit?” with the participation of Türkiye's Ambassador to London Ümit Yalçın and TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle. The panel evaluated the measures taken in the United Kingdom during the Covid-19 process and the post-pandemic state of its economy, developments in the foreign trade of the two countries and opportunities for the coming period, and informed firms about current developments.

 “The UK is our 2nd most important export market”

Stating that Türkiye-the UK relations date back to the late 16th century, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “As a result of these long-term relations, our bilateral trade with the United Kingdom has started before many countries. The UK is our 2nd most important export market. After a long and painful Brexit process, our country preserved all our gains in the Customs Union by signing a Free Trade Agreement with the UK. In the Türkiye-the UK Free Trade Agreement, there is also intensive work on the issues that we demand to be updated in the Customs Union. We believe that Türkiye and the UK relationship will be crowned with a deep and comprehensive agreement called the next generation STA, which contains areas such as the services sector and agricultural products trade. It was a very important achievement to be able to complete the Brexit process without disrupting our exports.”

“Our bilateral trade reached 16.8 billion dollars”

Noting that close to 10,000 Turkish companies exported to the UK in 2020, Gülle said: “With the United Kingdom, which is a very important market, our bilateral trade reached 16.8 billion dollars in 2020 despite the pandemic, up from 4.1 billion dollars in 2001. In the same period, our exports increased five times from 2.2 billion dollars to 11.2 billion dollars. During this period, the UK's total imports from the world increased from 359 billion dollars to 632 billion dollars. This situation has a different value for us. Because an increase in exports higher than the rate of increase in the country's imports means an increase in our market share. So much so that our market share, which was 7.7 per thousand in 2001, increased to 1.8 percent in 2020. On the other hand, although a significant uptrend in bilateral trade and our market share has been caught in recent years, Türkiye's share of the United Kingdom's imports is still below 2 percent. We continue our efforts to increase this share without slowing down.”

“We export 2,827 products to the UK”

Gülle said that in their target market country analysis report, which they prepared specifically for the United Kingdom, they found that a total of 4,644 products were available, which could be the subject of joint trade between Türkiye and the United Kingdom. Stating that as Turkish exporters, they export only 2,827 products to the United Kingdom, Gülle said, “There is a very serious potential that we cannot evaluate. Within the framework of the analysis, we conducted; we determined the products with the lowest market share among 433 products in which our country has a competitive advantage. Within the framework of our analyses, we also identified the products with the lowest market share in 433 products where our country has a competitive advantage. When we examine the sectors of these 433 products, we see that the chemicals, automotive and cereal sectors stand out. There is no reason not to export these products to the UK, which we already specialize in and have competitiveness. By using the transformation in global supply chains in our favor, we must improve our trade with our traditional markets, the United Kingdom, and all European countries. Now, we see that the close supply trend in the world is gaining momentum, and orders are preferred not in bulk but smaller quantities but more frequently in batches.”

“Our exports will increase with the agreement”

Gülle said Türkiye is a strong supply center in its region with both mass production capability, geographical location, and logistics infrastructure. Gülle, “After the pandemic, there will be many new opportunities for our country, which will have the chance to be at the center of a new order, and for our exporters who have completed 2020 above their target despite everything. We are confidently advancing to our target of 184 billion dollars for 2021. In the new period, our exports to the United Kingdom will hopefully reach even better levels with the Free Trade Agreement. We also believe that the issue of 'Digital Trade' will be dealt with more comprehensively in further trade talks with the UK, comprehensive arrangements will be put in place going forward on issues such as competition, intellectual property rights, government assistance, and therefore a more comprehensive trade agreement will be established.” he said.

“This agreement is also a message to the new administration of the EU and the United States”

Emphasizing that the importance of the Free Trade Agreement in his speech, Turkish Ambassador to London Ümit Yalçın said: “This is a very great agreement. With this agreement, we ensure continuity in our trade. Trade is continuing without any disruption. The two countries want to intensify their relations with this agreement. The agreement is just the beginning. With this agreement, we have continued, and the uncertainty has disappeared. The two countries want to intensify their relations, strengthen them, diversify them. With this deal, the two countries, working together for a more comprehensive agreement, will also be able to boost cooperation in third countries. This agreement was also a message to the new administration of the European Union and the United States. With this agreement, the United Kingdom and Türkiye said, “As two NATO members at both sides of the continent; security, trade, and economy are our business.” For stability, prosperity, and development on this continent, the two countries have put their hands under the stone and are ready for win-win projects. Therefore, showing this determination was also a nice message to the EU, which was reluctant despite our saying 'Come on, let us update the Customs Union'.”

“The contracting industry can do a lot of work here”

Ambassador Yalçın, related which opportunities there are to Turkish exporters, “Our exporters can work in new areas, the health sector is important. We said we should have a fair together in this sector, but pandemic barrier out. We are going to do it. Then, it was opened many areas as green technologies, transportation infrastructure, digital infrastructure, e-commerce, innovation to us. The Johnson Government has plans to make new hospitals. The contracting industry can do a lot of work here. There is an ambitious housing and hospital construction project. That is why we must appear in these fields. There are incredible areas such as financial technology, artificial intelligence, and innovation. We must think about the exports broadly. TİM is great, strengthens our exporter very well.” he said.

Following the opening program, an informative presentation was made by Tarık Sönmez, London Chief Commercial Counsellor.