Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

“We must also write an integration success story similar to the EU”

14.09.2023 / İstanbul

The Turkic World Business Forum was organized by the Union of Turkic Chambers of Commerce and Industry and hosted by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB) in İstanbul.​

Speaking at the forum, M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, President of the Union of Turkic Chambers of Commerce and Industry and President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB), said that he visits member countries whenever he has the opportunity and that he is very excited to see the policies and practices aiming to diversify production and emphasize the private sector in the vision documents prepared.

Emphasizing that having natural resources alone is not enough for development, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “We must also diversify and develop our economic structure. For this, we must strengthen entrepreneurship by turning to industry and trade. This is the only way to make our countries and peoples richer.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu pointed out that the first step in this process is to increase the volume of trade and remove obstacles and said, “One of the important issues in trade is customs crossings. In our geography, land customs gates are of great importance. Thanks to the approval and support of the Ministry of Trade, as TOBB, we have great experience and success in renovating and operating them. Our projects have been recognized as success stories by the United Nations and shown as an example to the world.

Entrepreneurship is another issue we care about. By increasing entrepreneurship and developing the private sector, we have achieved global success in two areas. We have also made great progress in tourism in the last 30 years. We have become one of the top 5 tourism destinations in the world. We have ranked 2nd in the world in the overseas contracting sector.

Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Türkiye and observer members TRNC, Hungary and Turkmenistan, which make up the Organization of Turkic States, have an economic size of approximately 1.3 trillion dollars, a foreign trade volume of 856 billion dollars and a population of 174 million people.”

Stating that these figures alone show how they can become a great global power when they come together, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “In order to mobilize this power, we must first strengthen the economic integration between us. We must complete bilateral free trade or preferential trade agreements. Our request to our ministers is to pave the way. As Türkiye, we have already done this with Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. Free trade agreements on trade in services and investments should be finalized. We expect the negotiations on the Partnership Agreement in the field of Digital Economy to be concluded with a concrete agreement in a short time. We must first remove trade barriers between our countries and increase trade with each other.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu continued: “As a result, we must write an integration success story similar to the EU. We should direct women and young entrepreneurs. In order to attract investors to our countries, we need to provide “Arbitration” at international standards. After we, as Türkiye, introduced the arbitration system, FDI inflow, which was 1 billion dollars a year, exceeded 10 billion dollars. With this vision, together with you, we established the Arbitration Center of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in İstanbul. We should benefit from this center together. We should utilize a very important transit point like the Caspian Sea more actively and less costly. We need to start the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline as soon as possible. We are very pleased with the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. The Russian-Ukrainian war has shown that the Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan gas pipeline has become even more important. I see the Organization of Turkic States and our Union as strategically important steps that will enable us to achieve this goal. Thus, solidarity between us will increase and new cooperation opportunities will develop. I believe that if we join hands, if our governments and the business world work together, the Turkic world will write new success stories.”

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