10/11/2011

Free zones to gain momentum again

Dunya - Free zones, once the favorite of investors with the customs exemptions they offered, are set to gain momentum again. While the withholding tax exemption, a great advantage of these zones, was conditional upon exporting 85 percent of production according to the law enacted in 2004, the demand from investors in these zones was weakened; however the zones are gaining momentum again with the emergence of Turkey from the global crisis as an attractive country. Investors, in particular foreign ones, have set their eyes on Turkey again, which can be best observed in the European Free Zone (ASB). While other free zones grew 22 percent in the first 8 months, ASB marked a growth of 78 percent on the back of global companies such as HP-Foxconn and Unilever that started their manufacturing operations in the zone. Other companies have taken these companies as a model and opted for the zone. Thus ASB, owned by Sahinler Holding, has attracted investments worth a total of USD 500 million in the past three years, reaching a trade volume of USD 2 billion. The zone’s investment target for the next year is USD 1 billion, while its turnover target stands at USD 3 billion. ASB, currently employing 4,000 people, is aiming to achieve a trade volume of USD 10 billion in 2023, and to employ some 20,000 people.

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