"Turkish American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TACCI) is proud to enter into a new era with Manhattan Chamber of Commerce (MCC) acting as a matchmaker for the most envied business partnerships both here [in the US] and in Turkey" said Ms. Sevil Ozisik, president of Turkish American Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday.
In a collaborative effort to promote bilateral trade and investment opportunities between Turkey and the US, TACCI and MCC launched the Gala of a series of global partnership conferences. The event took place in Club 101 in New York City within the context of MCC’s 2009 Country Partner Program titled “The Republic of Turkey: New Business and Investment Opportunities.”
Ms. Ally Gunduz, global business director of MCC delivered the welcome speech and acted as the mistress of the ceremonies. Which was followed by opening remarks, by presidents of both chambers. “MCC has established the Global Network for companies seeking access to international business”, said Nancy Ploeger, President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.
Ms. Ozisik said TACCI - MCC partnership will provide new business opportunities for the members, and will act as a matchmaker for business partnerships both in the US and in Turkey. TACCI president reminded, over 150 participants of the meeting, to follow the Chamber’s program in 2009 which will focus on four specific industries; renewable energy, organic food, health care and eco friendly construction industry. Ms. Ozisik emphasized Turkey’s commitment to free markets, entrepreneurship, and education of its workforce among many others.
Ms. Zeynep Kızıltan, Deputy Consul General, who took the floor following welcome speeches, stressed Turkey’s role as a central country in the vast Eurasian strategic space, with growing influence in the region. She reminded Turkey’s election to the UN Security Council as a sign of confidence by international community. Ms. Kiziltan also referred to the action plan adopted at the third meeting of the Turkish American Economic Partnership Commission in February 2007 as a roadmap in deepening and diversifying the bilateral relations.
Mr. Peter Cunningham the deputy Commissioner for International Office of Business Development of the New York State Department of Economic Development was one of the keynote speakers. He noted that New York’s exports to Turkey have increased over 82 percent between 2005 and 2007. “If the same trend continues, at the end of 2008, Turkey will be New York State’s 17th largest market receiving more exports than Brazil, Australia or Russia” he added. also stressed the role of education in creating long term partnerships. Currently there are 23 ongoing programs in the US, accepting exchange students from Turkey
Mr. Cunningham reminded the participants that investment in New York, 389,000 jobs attributed to foreign direct investment, adding that their office is willing to help those who want to do business with Turkey with all their questions.
Turkey’s commercial attaché to New York Mr. Mehmet Ali Erdem contributed to the meeting with Turkish production and export figures. He stressed some potential industries as areas of cooperation with Turkey, such as cotton, jewelry, ceramic tiles, natural stone, cleaning products, home textiles among many others.
“Turkey is strong in marble, ceramics, textile and clothing, leather products, transport vehicles, machinery mechanical and electronic appliances” said Erdem and continued, “organic product varieties in Turkey are increasing gradually. Approximately 200 products are organically produced in Turkey including apricots, olive oil and raisin.” The commercial attaché pointed that there are more than 900 American companies operating in Turkey, generating 10 billion dollars in year.
Another speaker of the event was Mr. Jim Torres, vice president of Capital Markets Corporate, GE Healthcare Corporation. He presented an overview of GE’s investments in Turkey. Mr. Torres who is the global funding leader for GE Healthcare International said Istanbul will be GE’s headquarters covering 80 countries in the region, including all of Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. GE currently has 240 employees, and generates 160 million USD worth of revenues in Turkey.
Mr. Tolga Kaan Isik, vice president of Sark Wire Corporation, told his success story first as an exporter than a producer in the United States. Sark Wire is a copper and copper alloy conductor exporter to the United States. The company made a 10 million USD investment in the New York. The Turkish firm is producing 50 percent of Turkey’s national copper output.
Ms. Carmela Mammas, director of the New York Export Assistance Center in the US encouraged the participants to benefit from their services. The center that has three offices in Turkey, hires locals from Turkey to prepare market research reports in the industries, identifying the opportunities to export. She mentioned some of the leading sectors for US export and investment as; water technology, franchising, education services automotive parts and equipment, medical equipment, information technology.
Ms. Alev Gunay, director of Turkish Prime Ministry Investment and Support Promotion Agency, pointed to Turkey’s young and educated population. Turkey has a 7 % percent growth rate; the country has attracted 22 billion USD foreign direct investment in 2007 said Ms. Gunay. She pointed to the solid and investment friendly environment in Turkey.
Ms. Ann Li, VP of the New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, explained their priority as diversification in NYC’s business environment. This includes an international diversification strategy that encourages international businesses to work in Turkey Ms. Li said and emphasized construction in infrastructure upgrading projects in the City as an open field for investment. High technology, and fashion industry were the other fields she emphasized as significant investing opportunities in NYC.
After Ms. Li’s speech the distinguished guests enjoyed a wonderful reception.
TACCI would like to thank the following sponsors for the event