Sunday, 18 March 2018
China: Ocean of opportunities

Rona Yırcalı - Chief Executive Officer Foreign Economical Relations Board (DEIK), President of the World Chambers Federation (WCF)

rona_yircali_deikAlthough situated between the two opposite sides of Asia, Turkey and China have always been close to each other in every period of history. China - the biggest economical power in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries- and Anatolia were connected to each other by the historical Silk Road. Thanks to the historical Silk Road, not only trade was conducted between Turkey and China, but also the mutual cultural and social interactions were continued. Hence, the Silk Road has become the biggest cultural interaction centre and thought production base of the history.
In the modern times, Turkey and China attract the attention of the world thanks to their extraordinary potentials in the rapid globalization age and their economical developments. Within the global power order that is reshaped, China and Turkey’s profile is being higher and higher fast. Today, China is the second biggest economy of the world after the USA. According to the long term calculations conducted, China’s economy will exceed that of the US in 2025 and it will be the biggest economy in the world. Growing by averagely 10% during the last 20 years, China has become the engine of growth within the global economy. While 35% of the global growth stemmed from China in 2011, the share of the developed countries remained at 20%. Being the third country sending men to the space in 2003, China’s foreign exchange reserve has become 3.2 trillion dollars as of the end of 2011.

Foreign trade reached at $ 24bln
Having been continuing the full membership negotiations for the European Union, Turkey is an effective actor of the global politics and the economy thanks to its membership in G-20 and Global Financial Stability Forum. With its strategic profoundness and central country position, Turkey’s weight on the global economy and politics is being rapidly increasing. Being the biggest industrial power of its region, Turkey is the biggest economy governed by democracy having the free market economy in a vast geography extending from China to Italy.
Still, China is the biggest commercial partner of Turkey in the Far East and the third country with which it conducts commercial activities. The volume of trade between the two countries has become 24 billion dollars by the end of 2011 and gives approximately 19 billion dollars of deficit against Turkey. The mutual direct investments between the two countries have become at a limited level. While 67 Turkish companies have approximately 150 million dollars of investment in Turkey, 431 Chinese companies are active in Turkey.

A network of multidimensional relations must be made  
In the ambiance of the global crisis we have been experiencing and in the period where the rising markets will dominate the world’s economy, I believe that Turkey and China must thrive by finding solutions to the world issues considering the mutual interests by trading more and by establishing more activities of cooperation. Being from the Turkish business world, I believe that the relations between Turkey and China must have mutual depth not only in the political and strategic grounds but also in all the grounds in order to have such relations reach the desired levels while the multi-polar world order is being shaped. Hence, we need to reconstruct the opportunities in the Turkey-China relations and the relationship of complementariness through a strategic point of view.
As the Turkish business world, we would like to develop and strengthen our economic relations with China, our long-time friend, at a global level. I believe that we must draw the new future road map of the Turkish-China strategic partnership. Thus, we must not view the bilateral economical relations as the only mutual trade in the 21st century, but we must make multidimensional network of relations. We must develop creative and innovative solutions in order to balance all the dimensions of the relations and settle our relations on a plane where the mutual interest will be served. We must diversify our economical relations and settle them on strong bases by means of investments, mutual energy and logistics projects, financing and credit relations, scientific and technological cooperation and agriculture and food safety projects.

Historical Silk Road is not Nostalgia
As the Turkish business world, we view China as an ocean of opportunities. China’s rapid urbanization, rapid rise of the middle class, and the increase in the income level create numerous business opportunities for the Turkish companies.  Turkey creates attractive possibilities of investments for China having 3.2 trillion dollars of foreign exchange reserve and more than 1 trillion dollars of current surplus for the last 10 years thanks to Turkey’s feature of being the entrance gate for China to the EU market.  
While China that has shown the fastest growth for the last 10 years and that is the biggest exporter, producer and second economy of the world is targeting to be the most developed economy of the world, Turkey has set its objective to be one of the 10 most developed economies by 2023. Thus, China’s 12th Five Year Development Plan and the 2014-2023 Development Plan being devised by Turkey bring together new cooperation activities between the two countries.
Being hand in hand in order to carry the goods produced by China that has become the production base of the world of the global economy to the world markets in a fast and cheap manner, we must resuscitate the Silk Road. The Silk Road that will pass through the Middle East and extend toward Europe through Turkey is important for the reduction of the transport costs. The historical Silk Road will bring together then new opportunities, new potentials, and new hopes for the people it connects. With the railroads and highways, the Pacific Ocean will be connected to Europe through the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and start to create prosperity and stability once again. Reanimation of the Silk Road is not nostalgia but a compulsion resulting from the change in the global economy. In addition, we need to enter into cooperation by sharing our experiences for modernizing the customs systems on this route because in order for this route to work properly, the customs systems must be fast enough to meet the requirements of the modern age.
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