‘Strong bilateral growth trend’ - Bathiudeen
2014 YoY trade at $ 311 m, up 34%
Against the backdrop of bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Turkey crossing the $ 300 million mark for the first time, a pioneering mechanism that establishes business-to-business links between both countries was unveiled.
“Sri Lanka’s trade with Turkey has been increasing over the last few years. In 2014, total bilateral trade stood at $ 311 million. Today’s launch of the Turkey Ceylon Business Chamber takes place against such positive developments and we have no doubt that the outcome too will be encouraging,” stressed Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.
Bathiudeen was addressing the inaugural event of the Turkey Ceylon Business Council in Colombo on 23 September. Joining the event were visiting foreign businessmen from Turkey, Australia, France and Sri Lanka as well as members of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON). TUSKON is the most widespread and effective business NGO in Turkey.
“In recent years, Turkey’s initiatives to strengthen its partnership with Sri Lanka, especially in trade, have seen an increase. Back in 2013 Sri Lanka was honoured to be the first Asian partner country at Turkey’s Izmir International Trade Fair series,” said Minister Bathiudeen.
“Personally, I too was honoured to lead the 45-member strong Lankan delegation and address the 82nd event of this series held in Izmir in August 2013. It is no secret that Turkish businesses have been expressing their interest to enter Sri Lanka for bigger partnerships. When the representatives of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists met me in January 2014 in Colombo, they too informed me that they were excited about expanding their trade with Sri Lanka and that Lanka’s tourism sector was interesting for them.
“Today’s TCBC launch event also takes place at an important time - that is, the new council is born as a new Unity Government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is preparing to take the Sri Lankan economy into the upper range of the middle income ranks. The other reason that today’s historic launch is important is that at this time strong growth trends are also reported in historic Sri Lanka-Turkey bilateral trade. I am pleased to say that Sri Lanka’s trade with Turkey has been increasing over the last few years. In 2014 total bilateral trade stood at $ 311 million, growing by 34% from 2013’s total. I am also pleased to say that the balance of trade has been in favour of Sri Lanka,” he said.
“TUSKON consists of more than 50,000 Turkish firms; in fact, around 55,000” said Mecit Ozkelebek, Secretary, TUSKON Head Office, Turkey. “I invite you to do business with Turkey as it is geographically very central so that you can reach across Europe. I hope we too can find opportunities in Sri Lanka. We believe that we can have partnerships here through this new council. I believe this new business link would be very busy in the coming days,” he added.
“TUSKON represents seven business federations, 202 business associations and over 50, 000 entrepreneurs in the country. TCBC is the best bridge to Turkey and TUSKON for Lankan biz,” said CEO/General Secretary of TCBC Guavanchmyrat Hezretov.
Over a nine-year period between 2005 and 2014, bilateral trade turnover between Sri Lanka and Turkey leaped by a huge 219%.