Japanese companies discover Turkish “safe haven” amidst crisis

Dunya - Turkey’s consistently growing economy and robust economic fundamentals proved to be a safe haven for Japanese companies seeking ways of growth overseas amid a stagnant market at home and continuing debt woes in Eurozone countries. Within the last 5 years, Turkey saw a stellar increase in Japanese investments, up from a meager USD 2 million in 2007 to USD 227 million in 2011, according to an attaché at the Japanese Embassy in Turkey.

Turkish and Japanese peoples’ closeness to each other should be matched on the economic level as well, said Yo Takahashi in an interview with the Turkish press, adding that steps are being taken towards stronger business ties between Turkey and Japan. “Zafer Caglayan’s visit, focusing on promoting Turkey's new investment incentive scheme, unveiled many investment opportunities in Turkey for Japanese companies,” said Takahashi citing Turkish Economy Minister’s visit to Japan last month.

Japanese companies’ interest stems from Turkey’s own vibrant economy and close ties to its surrounding countries, a key factor for Japanese companies to better compete with Chinese and South Korean companies operating in the region. Companies in the construction, infrastructure and energy sectors from Turkey and Japan convened last month on developing joint projects for third countries such as Iraq, principally agreeing on joining their forces for the country’s rebuilding efforts. The agreement is expected to bring USD 4-5 billion worth of business for Turkish-Japanese partnerships.

Two large lenders from Japan, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) and Mizuho Corporate Bank have joined 140+ Japanese companies active in the Turkish market this year, with the former applying for a banking license in the country, while the latter opened a representative office in Istanbul. Bilateral trade between Turkey and Japan reached USD 4.3 billion in 2011.
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