Turkey's exports for the year 2007 increased by 23.49 percent over the previous year, reaching $105.9 billion, while exports in December grew by 7.68 percent to $9.4 billon over the same month in 2006.
Minister of State Kürşad Tüzmen offers Seniha Koşar, the wife of Tuğrul Koşar, who died two months ago, a present to commemorate her husband's contributions to Turkish the leather industry as well as to exports.
The Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) on Wednesday announced the December and year-end exports results at a press conference in İstanbul with the participation of Foreign Trade Minister Kürşad Tüzmen.
Speaking at the press conference TİM President Oğuz Satıcı said that in seven years Turkey's exports had increased by $80 billion, from $26 billion to $106 billion. He said the political stability in Turkey and the growth in the global economy had contributed significantly to this development.
However, Satıcı said the greatest role in this success belonged to the exporters themselves, as they had increased exports despite the fact that the exchange rate had dropped by 50 percent and input costs had increased by 50 percent. "Under these circumstances, no one can say exporters were inefficient," he emphasized.
Satıcı said there were many institutions that had set goals for themselves but that very few fulfilled them. "For example, the inflation target was unattainable for years, during which the exporters paid the highest price."
Satıcı emphasized that the engine of Turkey's growth has been exports since 2000. At that time exports' share in gross national product was 11.5 percent but has increased to around 25 percent today, Satıcı said. He pointed out that exports had grown by 23.49 percent in dollar terms but only by 12.31 percent in lira. "The gap demonstrates the loss of exporters [who earn in dollars and spend in lira]," he said.
At the same conference, Tüzmen said politics outshone economics on Turkey's 2007 agenda, and that although the priority of trade lagged behind other issues in 2007, exports nonetheless displayed a great performance. Tüzmen said the agenda would shift back to economics again in 2008 and that no excuses remained for them [the government] to not fulfill their duties.
According to Tüzmen December exports alone exceeded $9 billion, which is equal to many of Turkey's neighboring countries' annual exports. He also said the Turkish exports in a single sector (industrial exports) were more than the total exports of many European countries. The target for exports in the government program was $118 billion for 2008, "However, I expect you to hit $125 billion in exports this year," he told exporters, adding it was necessary in order to reach the $200 billion threshold four years later.
Tüzmen pointed out that by exceeding $100 billion in exports, Turkey had entered a new league. He said first generation industrialist countries like Germany, France and Japan exceeded the $100 billion threshold in the 1970s; second generation Holland and England surpassed it in the late 1980s, Italy in early the 1990s, and Korea and Spain in the late 1990s. He said emerging countries Brazil and India had passed the $100 billion mark in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Industrial exports hit $92 billion
According to the TİM data the highest exports were made in industrial products, worth nearly $92 billion in 2007. The highest increase was in hazelnut and hazelnut products exports with a 31.85 percent rise. The increase in chemicals and chemical product exports took second spot with 30.08 percent raise. Carpet exports grew 23.87 percent and vehicles and spare parts exports by 22.9 percent.
In December, industrial exports got the highest share again in total exports with $8.2 billion. The most significant decline in December exports was in leather and leather products, with a 34.61 percent drop.
For all of 2007, Germany got the first spot among the countries Turkey exports to. This was followed by the UK, Italy, France, Russia, Spain, the US, Romania, Holland and the UAE.