Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), the only umbrella organization of more than 100,000 exporters with 61 exporters and 27 sectors, held a “UK Conformity Assessment Mark (UKCA) Conference” on March 1, 2022, at the İstanbul Foreign Trade Complex, together with the Consulate of the United Kingdom in İstanbul.
Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) opened the conference organized by the İstanbul Foreign Trade Complex on March 1, 2022, with the "Consulate General of the United Kingdom in İstanbul", and was opened by TİM chairman Mr. İsmail Gülle and the Consul General of the United Kingdom in Istanbul, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Trade Commissioner Mr. Kenan Poleo.
At the meeting, The Head of Trade and Investment in UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Mr. Christopher SMART; Head of the Department of International Agreements and European Union at the Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Mehmet Ergünal, and Head of Technical Barriers and Market Entry Department of the Ministry of Commerce General Directorate of Product Safety and Supervision Mr. Burak Yılmaz also made a presentation.
“With $13.7 billion in exports, the United Kingdom was the third most exported market”
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle stated that the United Kingdom is an important trading partner of Türkiye, where it has started trade and diplomatic relations before most European countries. “When we look at the figures, the United Kingdom is the sixth most important trading partner of our country with our bilateral trade volume exceeding 19 billion dollars and its 6 percent share in our exports. In addition, with a record export of 13.7 billion dollars, the United Kingdom was the third most exported market.” he said.
In 2021, 23 of the 27 sectors increased their exports to the United Kingdom
Stating that 23 of the 27 sectors increased their exports to the United Kingdom last year, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said that the sectors that exported the most were automotive with $3.1 billion, ready-to-wear with $2.1 billion, and electrical and electronics sectors with $2 billion. TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said that motor vehicles, electrical machinery, and knitted clothing are among the most exported product groups to the United Kingdom, and mechanical devices, iron and steel, and land vehicles stand out in the product groups that import the most.
TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle stated that they have seen a significant breakthrough in investments and said, “Türkiye's direct investments in the UK reached $296 million in 2021. On the other hand, the United Kingdom invested $1.4 billion in Türkiye directly last year.”
“We follow the new regulations with great care in order to continue our exports”
Stating that, thanks to the Free Trade Agreement signed between Türkiye and the United Kingdom in December 2020, the grievances that may arise from the Brexit process were prevented as a result of the intense efforts on both sides, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “The process of leaving the European Union was completed on 31 January 2020. Of course, this transition process required some revisions to many existing applications. A total of 10,700 companies exported to the United Kingdom last year. In other words, we follow the new regulations with great care in order to increase our weight further and continue our exports without problems in this market where almost 1 in 10 exporters export.”
“We need a next-generation free trade agreement with the United Kingdom”
Stating that, it is very important for both countries to consider the agreement signed between Türkiye and the United Kingdom more broadly in 2022, TİM Chairman Gülle said, “The rapidly rising bilateral trade figures in recent years show that we now need a new-generation free trade agreement with the UK. The United Kingdom Export Minister Graham Stuart said negotiations would begin in 2022 for a more comprehensive free trade agreement with Türkiye. Updating the agreement, especially on agricultural products, services, and investments, is the biggest expectation of our export family from this process.”
“We will increase our share in bilateral trade even more”
Saying that they believed that the process would be completed in the second step of the negotiations, as in the first STA, TİM Chairman İsmail Gülle said, “Because there is a serious potential between the two countries that needs to be evaluated. Despite rising trade volumes, the two countries' mutual foreign trade shares do not fully reflect this potential. At a time when trade blocs are convergent in the world and supply chains are focusing on trading closely, we will hopefully evaluate this potential and increase our share in bilateral trade even more with the new-generation free trade agreement.”
Indicating that, the UKCA, which is a mark of the UK Conformity Assessment, is a necessary product mark indicating that certain products comply with the new rules of the United Kingdom, İsmail Gülle said that it would be useful for exporters to closely follow the legislation on this issue, stating that the UKCA's effective date has been set for January 1, 2023.
Kenan Poleo: “Türkiye is one of the top priority countries”
Another speaker of the conference, Mr. Kenan Poleo, The United Kingdom Trade Commissioner for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Consul General in İstanbul, said, “While the pandemic affected global trade, UK-Türkiye bilateral trade stayed largely resilient. This is especially thanks to our free trade agreement, which we signed at the end of 2020 and which ensures the continuity of the supply chains we have established for many years, and our strong connections between businesses that we have developed through our inter-individual relations. In addition, in 2021, the United Kingdom became the largest investor country in Türkiye, covering 19% of all investments in Türkiye. The UKCA sign is a new UK conformity assessment mark used for goods released in Great Britain. The UK government has chosen Türkiye as one of the top priority countries to announce such a significant change. We want to make sure that there are no unnecessary disruptions to Türkiye's exports to the United Kingdom.”
What is the UKCA mark?
With the departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union, the UK has decided to substitute its mark, the UKCA, instead of the CE in the field of technical regulations.
Although the UKCA's entry into force period was set as January 1, 2022, this period was extended for next year as a result of requests from many sectors and put forward as of January 1, 2023.
This new product mark indicates that certain goods comply with UK legislation and is used when placing such goods on the UK market. It covers all goods that previously required CE marking and aerosol containers (which previously required an inverted epsilon mark). This application does not apply entirely to goods manufactured, CE marked, and marketed before January 1, 2023.
Detailed information on the use of the UKCA mark can be found at the link below:
Our exporters will still be able to comply with EU requirements for most goods and continue to use the CE mark until 1 January 2023. As part of the new application, the UKCA mark on goods will be able to use by adding it to a label attached to the product or an accompanying document until 1 January 2024.
Products requiring UKCA Marking
•Sightseeing and personal sea vehicles
•Simple pressure vessels
•Non-automatic weighing instruments
•Personal protective equipment
•Gas Burning Devices
•Low voltage electrical equipment
•Limitation of hazardous substances
•Pressure equipmentFor some goods, a third-party conformity assessment must be obtained from an approved testing facility before using the UKCA mark, while others may submit their declarations of conformity.