6/10/2009

Turkey gets on with business - on its own terms

Business Report (South Africa) - While key developed economies try to dig themselves out of the global financial crisis by going deeper into mind-boggling debt with stimulus packages, Turkey aims to export its way back to a growth trajectory. The country's financial sector has stood clear of the black hole dragging down the US, Britain, major EU economies and Russia, with double-digit declines this year. Turkey, the world's 15th-largest economy, was turning in consistently strong performances until early this year. In the five years to 2008, its gross domestic product grew by 143 percent to USD 742 billion (almost the size of the first US bailout package). Its exports grew by 179 percent in the same period to reach USD 132 billion last year. Last week in Istanbul four deputy prime ministers, 20 cabinet ministers, nine deputy ministers and six ambassadors represented 39 countries gathered at the World Trade Ministers Summit ahead of the “Turkey - World Trade Bridge 2009” held by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists. While the visiting politicians aired views on ways to weather the downturn, the Turkish Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan delivered five speeches in three days to repeat a mantra that rejecting protectionism and staying open to trade is the only way for all countries to weather the storm. "No country can deal with this alone", he said. However the main event for Turkey was the business summit, where 3,200 Turkish businessmen and 2,300 others from 135 countries met in huge matchmaking sessions in which about 55,000 meetings were expected to boost Turkish exports by more than USD 7 billion.