Turkey’s services sector exports ran a surplus of $28 billion in the first 10 months of this year with a 22 percent increase compared with the same term last year, the country’s trade minister has said.
Speaking at an award ceremony in Istanbul on Dec. 21 to honor the pioneers of the service exporters, Ruhsar Pekcan said that the countries that keep pace with the big transformation in the global economy and develop and implement policies to increase competitiveness can be competitive in trade. She added that Turkey is confidently moving towards an export-based economy.
“Undoubtedly, one of our most important success elements in this journey is service trade. The contribution of services exports to the realization of sustainable growth and exports is undeniably large,” said the minister, stressing that Turkey’s position was a net exporter of services exports.
“In the first 10 months of 2019, exports of services increased by 22 percent compared to the same period of the previous year, providing $28 billion of service trade surplus.”
Around the world, people consume Turkish products while watching Turkish television series and movies on their televisions produced in Turkey, Pekcan said, adding that many of them also prefer Turkey for vacation and health services.
The minister stated that tourism revenues increased by 15.9 percent in the first 10 months compared with the same period of the previous year, and more than 550,000 patients were taken care of in Turkey in 2018 as a result of efforts to boost health tourism.
“Our TV series meet with 700 million viewers in 140 countries,” she said.
“In the education sector, we have increased the number of foreign students to 170,000, five times the number in 2012.
Speaking on Turkey’s role in the global contracting sector, Pekcan noted that the country takes a $22 billion share of the global market worth $487 billion.
“Turkish contractors are in the seventh spot globally in terms of total value of the jobs undertaken, while they sit in the second spot in terms of number of jobs,” she said.
The share of high-technology products in Turkey’s industry exports is at 3.5 percent, the minister said, adding that this number goes up to 9 percent when only exports made from free zones are considered.
“In order to further strengthen the potential of our free zones, our goal is to establish a new generation of specialized free zones,” Pekcan said.
“We will dedicatedly continue our efforts to increase our service exports in the coming period in cooperation with our non-governmental organizations.”
Meanwhile, Turkey and the European Union are willing to advance bilateral trade and investment relations, Pekcan also said.
“We had a fruitful meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan” to address various issues of mutual interest, she told a press conference on Dec. 20 following her official talks in Brussels.
Pekcan said both sides are ready to establish positive dialogue to bring Turkish-EU economic ties up to their “true potential.”
Saying that updating the Customs Union Agreement between the two was “Topic A” at the meeting, Pekcan added: “We brought up the economic gains of updating the customs union during the meeting with the commissioner.”
She said the meeting also addressed the EU’s trade measures on steel products.
“Unfortunately, the Turkish steel industry felt the greatest impact of the EU steel industry measures even though they were not meant directly for Turkey but were in response to U.S. sanctions,” she added.