The Customs Union and the 2001 crisis provided Turkey with new openings. The country was transformed into an automobile manufacturing base while textiles continued with their success. There was major progress in white goods. Exports have risen by more than 200 percent since 1994 and the target for 2005 is US $72 billion.
Over the last 10 years Turkey has increased its exports two and a half fold. Exports rose from $18.105 billion in 1994 to $47.252 billion in 2003. Exports were nearly $50 billion in 2004 and are forecast to reach $72 billion in 2005.
The five companies with the highest export volume over the last two years are GDS Dış Ticaret, Ram Dış Ticaret, GİSAD, Vestel Elektronik and Oyak Renault.
The biggest increase in exports over the last ten years came in 2003. The first factor driving the increase in exports was Turkey’s entry into the Customs Union with the EU in 1996; the second was the crisis of 2001 and the contraction in the domestic market, which made companies look to external markets.
The monetary and financial policies which were applied as Turkey was recovering from the 2001 crisis resulted in a contraction in the domestic market. This situation left the exporting firms having to turn to foreign markets even more than before. At the same time the capacity utilization rates in production began to rise rather than fall and reoriented producers towards foreign markets.
The economic stability resulting from a single party government coming to power in the last elections also contributed positively to the increase in exports. Expectations related to the EU meant that there was a significant increase both in direct foreign investments and in exports to the rest of the world. Firms which were able to make the most of this situation, which was having an extremely positive impact on foreign trade, took their places amongst the largest exporters.
The reason for the growth was the rapid increase in the exchange rate
GSD Dış Ticaret, which was established by 96 clothing manufacturers and exporters as a joint stock company in 1986, exported a total of $6.6 billion worth of goods in the period 1994-2003. The company recorded a steady growth in exports until 2002, realising an average of $660 million in exports per year. Since 2002 this figure has risen to over $700 million. GSD Dış Ticaret General Manager Turhan Alphan says that the reason for this increase was the rise in the exchange rate from 2002 onwards following the shift to a floating exchange rate, an increase in orders and movement in the cross rate between the dollar and the euro in favour of the euro.
But this development is not expected to continue in the years ahead. Alphan had the following to say based on the result of a survey conducted amongst GSD’s members: “The low exchange rate policy and increasing costs mean that our exports will not rise like they did in previous years. Indeed, our research shows that they may even decline a little.”
TIM PRESIDENT OĞUZ SATICI
EXPORTS WILL REACH $72 BILLION IN 2005
What level do you see exports reaching in 2005? Which sectors will be most prominent in exports?
We predict that total exports will reach $72 billion at the end of 2005. In order to achieve this figure some important amendments are needed in production costs, headed by a reduction in energy costs.
In 2004 the leading sectors in terms of exports were the iron, non-ferrous metal and automotive sectors. We think that these sectors will continue to be the stars in 2005. In addition, the textile sector’s years of experience, its competitive strength, the fact that it has a global infrastructure and its ability to provide a rapid, flexible response to demand will enable it to retain an important place in our exports.