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Turkish-German forum spotlights opportunities for trade buildup



Business leaders and officials from Germany and Türkiye gathered for a major economic summit on Saturday, hailing the vitality of trade ties and illuminating the way toward enhancing the volume of goods exchange to $60 billion.

Türkiye’s bilateral trade relations with Germany have achieved great successes, Turkish Ambassador to Germany, Ahmet Başar Şen, said at the 8th Turkish-German Economy Day event held in Dusseldorf by the Association of Turkish Entrepreneurs and Industrialists in Europe (ATIAD).

“We are proud of the economic vitality made possible by Turkish people in Germany ever since the 1960s, with the companies they established with large capital, as well as our young people and people with experience who created lives for themselves, working in many sectors of Europe and Germany,” noted Şen.

He recalled that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Germany in November and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, visited Türkiye at the end of April.

“These visits have revitalized and elevated our political relations, as the presidents made it clear that they intend to develop further the economic relations and the political cooperation between the two countries,” he said.

“We are working and will continue to work with all our might to reach the $60 billion target for bilateral trade, as instructed by President Erdoğan,” he added.

Şen noted that the trade volume between Türkiye and Germany exceeded $50 billion by the end of 2023, thanks to the efforts of businesspeople believing in free enterprise, and this success greatly contributed to the prosperity and economic growth of the two countries.

‘Great success in trade relations’

Moreover, the ambassador highlighted the successes achieved in bilateral trade relations.

“The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is the largest in economic size in Germany, with 22,000 international companies operating in the region.”

“It is also one of the regions with the highest level of Turkish-German cooperation. The foreign trade volume between Türkiye and North Rhine-Westphalia reached $11.34 billion alone in 2023,” he said.

He added that “850 Turkish companies invested in the region, and the highest number of companies established in 2022, calculated at 91, was Turkish, ahead of the numbers of U.S. and Chinese firms.”

Şen highlighted that the private sector needs to come together to institutionalize their unity, and it is essential for companies and businesspeople to operate and create joint projects in technology and education jointly.

Visa liberalization

He also stated that updating the EU-Türkiye Customs Union and removing restrictions by ensuring visa liberalization for Turkish citizens and the free movement of goods will greatly benefit both Turkish and German businesspeople.

“Türkiye’s full EU membership and participation in the single market is the ultimate goal,” he said.

“Business communities of the two countries should embrace the efforts to update the EU Customs Union and make efforts for Türkiye’s participation in the single market as an EU member because only then will we be able to create growth opportunities for both German and Turkish entrepreneurs,” he added.

As for the German officials, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported Minister-President of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia Hendrik Wust, saying that Turkish workers in this state move Germany forward while also acclaiming the role of ATIAD.

He noted that the sacrifice of Turks migrating to Germany in the 1960s has contributed to the prosperity of Germany, with 1 million people of Turkish origin now living in North Rhine-Westphalia, half of whom are German citizens.

Wust underlined that there are significant opportunities in artificial intelligence and renewable energy now that the U.S. tech firm Microsoft invested in North Rhine-Westphalia and the state is a hot spot for foreign investors in Germany.

He attributed Germany’s prosperity to international trade, stating that Türkiye is in the top five in this field.

Wust added that ATIAD contributes to making Turkish and German workers and businesspeople come together, highlighting that the collaboration is a win-win situation for North Rhine-Westphalia and Türkiye.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner, on the other hand, said he felt welcomed and treated with great hospitality in Türkiye when he accompanied Steinmeier on a visit from April 22 to 24.

Lindner mentioned that he spoke to his Turkish counterpart, Mehmet Şimşek, during the visit, wishing him success in the structural reforms against inflation Türkiye has put forth.

Citing the success of the Turkish-German-owned vaccine maker BioNTech, Lindner emphasized that Turkish people have had many success stories in Germany.

He noted that the number of foreign investors in Germany has been declining for six consecutive years, signaling a need for change.

He added that they are in talks with Turkish officials on updating the EU Customs Union agreement between Türkiye and the bloc, and they want visa procedures to be carried out faster for Turkish nationals.

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