Turkey-Canada trade full of promise

| October 4, 2016 | 0 Comments
Turkey’s biggest export to Canada is hazelnuts. (Photo: Fir0002)

Turkey’s biggest export to Canada is hazelnuts. (Photo: Fir0002)

Turkey is a rising economic powerhouse and a strong emerging force in the global economy. Today, Turkey is the 18th-largest economy in the world and sixth-largest in Europe, with a GDP of about $720 billion US. Turkey boasts highly developed technological infrastructure in the transportation, telecommunications and energy sectors, a strong domestic market and a competitive private sector. Implementation of strict regulatory and supervisory regulations on banks and financial institutions provides a buffer against external shocks. The Turkish economy also registered a notable recovery following the global economic crisis and has expanded by more than four per cent on average since 2010. Unlike the economic plague described as “jobless recovery,” growth in Turkey translated into millions of new jobs.
Despite the bombing by DAESH (ISIS) at the Istanbul international airport, the attempted coup and the humanitarian crises in Syria, Turkey should continue to be among the OECD’s fastest-growing economies. The last 29 quarters have witnessed uninterrupted growth.
In 2014, the volume of Turkish exports increased to $158 billion US and the total trade volume accounted for $400 billion US. Turkey aims to be among the top-10 economies in the world with a $2 trillion US GDP, $25,000 GDP per capita and $500 billion in exports by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the country.
Economic relations between Canada and Turkey have always been solid and balanced. However, a closer look trade for the previous years reveals there is much more room for improvement. Turkey-Canada bilateral trade peaked at $3 billion Cdn in 2014 and currently stands at $2.6 billion. Turkish exports to Canada include a mix of precious metals, trucks and tractors, medicine, marble and tiles, as well as hazelnuts. Hazelnuts constitute the biggest export item to Canada, which exceeded $100 million  US in 2015.
Hazelnuts are followed by trucks and tractors. Turkey is the 17th-largest automotive manufacturer in the world and exported $63 million US in exports to Canada in 2015. Unwrought gold is another important export item from Turkey, which has 840 tonnes of gold reserves and gold potential calculated around 6,500 tonnes, making it potentially the second-ranked country in the world in terms of gold reserves. Canadian mining companies did not miss the opportunity to invest in Turkey’s robust mining sector and now more than a dozen successfully operate in Turkey.
Canada’s top export items to Turkey are lentils, durum wheat, bituminous coal, iron ores and wood pulp. Canada’s agricultural exports to Turkey made a record jump in recent years, with lentils alone reaching $290 million US. Bituminous coal is the second-largest export item, totalling  $65 million US in 2015.
Canada’s global markets action plan has named Turkey a top emerging market with broad Canadian interests. Export Development Canada has identified Turkey as a strategic market of opportunity for Canadian firms. A 2009 air transportation agreement paved the way for 15 direct flights from Toronto and Montreal to Istanbul operated by Turkish Airlines, as well as Air Canada.
Turkey is one of the fastest-growing energy markets in the world, according to our ministry of energy and natural resources. It is estimated that the total primary energy demand in Turkey will more than double by 2025. In order to meet such immense growth in demand, the estimated amount of investment will reach $125 billion US. This provides opportunities for Canadian firms to invest in Turkey, where we aim to build 20 nuclear reactors, fully exploit our hydro potential and construct solar, wind and geothermal plants.
Turkey is the commercial hub of the region. Foreign companies have been using Turkey to access the EU market as well as for business opportunities throughout the Balkans, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. The total amount of foreign direct investments in Turkey since 2002 has reached $165 billion US — and $16.8 billion US in 2015 alone. A prevention-of-double-taxation agreement, signed by Canada and Turkey in 2009, has created an environment that is more conducive to bilateral investment. Exploratory talks on a modern and comprehensive free-trade agreement were successfully completed in 2013. The launch of negotiations awaits a decision by the Canadian government to bring economic and commercial relations to the desired level.

Selçuk Ünal is ambassador of Turkey to Canada. Contact him by email at embassy.ottawa@mfa.gov.tr or phone at (613) 244-2470.

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Selçuk Ünal is ambassador of Turkey to Canada. Contact him by email at embassy.ottawa@mfa.gov.tr or phone at (613) 244-2470.

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