İsmail Gülle, the chairman at TİM (Turkish Exporters Council): “We will be sparkling in 2021”

As Tekstil & Teknik Magazine, we began the new year with an exclusive file, “Chairmans Are Talking.” Distinguished chairmans of the Turkish textile industry shared their assessments on the past year and predictions for 2021. We wish you all have a pleasant read of their precious comments on our pages…

İsmail Gülle, chairman at TİM shared his comments for 2020 on behalf of Turkish ready-made textile sector, which contributes a great deal to national export volume and economy. He also added his projections for the period ahead.

İsmail Gülle said exporters would do much better on condition that preventive measures that needed to be taken and subsidies provided against fluctuations should still be put in effect, pinpointing the motto that goes, ‘solid finance for solid export.’

A YEAR OF “THE FIRSTS”

“As the export family, we commenced the year 2020 with great hopes. The first two months went quite well in line with our targets. We broke records till the middle of March. As the impacts of pandemic started to sweep the globe, our export got unavoidably affected. Although our export performance of this period displayed a certain decrease compared to the same period of last year, a speedy recovery was materialized as of the new normal, beginning with June. Shock resistant and equipped with quick reflexes, our exporters managed to survive stronger out of all the crises that they had to go through.

Export warriors of trade diplomacy on the field, so to speak, managed to reach the export performance that we had obtained before pandemic. Pandemic, a one in a million situation, was a period of time that had its own dynamics and that required much attention. We are grateful to relevant ministers, chairmen of councils and federations, and exporters who put out all their effort with a holistic approach to keep the export going.

TIM, as the administrative office of 100,000 exporters didn’t even think twice to shoulder whatever burden it took. We activated digital platforms; so many ‘firsts’ took place during this time such as First Virtual Fair, First Virtual Trade Visitors, First Virtual Competition and First Virtual Reward Ceremony. We are proud to see immediately the short and long term impacts of all that we did to recover our trade performance by activating digitalization processes.”

WE FOCUSSED ON THE OBJECTIVE, “TURKEY, A COUNTRY OF FOREIGN CURRENCY SURPLUS”

“To be able to recover our export objectives, we put a great deal of effort on introduction and digitalization attempts during such a harsh condition. We, as TIM team, are proud to see the positive outcomes of what we did in terms of introduction and digitalization. We have strongly focused, more than ever, on the objective, ‘Turkey, a Country of Foreign Currency Surplus’ with collaborative contributions of sectoral representatives, exporters and ministers on the basis of new generation trade diplomacy. Pandemic couldn’t hold us back from applying new generation trade diplomacy.

We managed to organize new generation trade diplomacy meetings with 35 virtual trade committees in 43 countries on five continents. We are determined to keep working so, with our virtual groups aiming to reach more and more target markets. We were able to show what Turkish exporters could accomplish under such harsh circumstances, thanks to the alternative models developed with the priceless contributions we received from relevant ministry. All that data clearly exemplifies a V-shaped recovery on export.”

WE REACHED THE HIGHEST EXPORT FIGURE IN THE HISTORY OF OUR REPUBLIC

“The export volume of November was quite significant since second lockdowns and bans were put in effect at some of our major markets. Luckily, we only had 0.95% loss despite all that negativity. We realized an export performance of about $16.1 billion. Several sectors even did more than what they had done before pandemic. As of December, it was the record month in the history of our republic -$17.88 billion – with 16% increase. Last year, exporters exported their products to 226 countries. We have been accustomed to records; however, breaking records under such dramatic conditions sure deserves appreciation. We are committed to strengthen our brand, ‘Made in Türkiye’ in all corners of the world. Turkish exporters have developed themselves so much that they now compete with themselves.”

RECORDS BROKEN BY 6 SECTORS ON YEARLY BASIS

“We managed to realize the 2020 National Economic Program Objective ($165,9 billion) with $169,5 billion, slightly over the target despite pandemic. Last year, six sectors broke records on yearly basis. Automotive industry took the lead again with an export volume of almost 25.6 billion $, followed by chemical industry with a performance of over $18 billion. Ready-made sector took the third place with over $17 billion. Exported products related to COVID-19 reached $1.2 billion with an outstanding 233% increase.

As export warriors on the field, if you will, we did anything to be done to hold our end. First time in our history did we reach 1% share of global commodity export in 2020. Our primary objective for 2021 is to keep that share. We have high hopes for 2021, which we believe will be a sparkling year for our export. Our objective is becoming a country of foreign exchange surplus. 2021 seems to be a year when finance is quite accessible as long as global private sector, ours too, is kept being subsidized.”

2021 EXPORT OBJECTIVE: $184 BILLION

“Our objective for 2021, the first year of the new normal is $184 billion export. I have a firm belief that we will be there as long as bans are suspended and the negative impacts of the virus fades away, thanks to the vaccination. It’s a requirement for us to go over the threshold of $200 billion; to be able to do that, we need to increase our global export share by diversifying our markets. In this regard, Central Bank announced the outcomes of export comparative analysis about opening new Consulates.

The impact of new Consulates on export is 27% increase, 7.7% increase in the number of expor- ting companies and 10% increase in product diversity. Maintenance of diplomacy and trade diplomacy is a must for ‘the brand,Turkey’. Additionally, we will be closely monitoring the US agenda. We will be watching the impacts of new administration’s preventive measures that they might take which will be a determinative factor for our regional export there.”

WE ANTICIPATE NEW RECORDS

“It will be highly possible in 2021 for exporters to put the bar much higher as long as the motto, ‘solid finance
for solid export’ is applied through putting out subsidies that will prevent exporters against fluctuations and uncertainties. As long as export family maintains their performance, nothing can stand in their way to prevent them from doing better. Whatever uncertainty we might confront, we get it over with export. If the subsidies provided for the private sector in 2020 continues in 2021, we will go through a year when finance is easiest to have access to.

We must find ways to help our exporters have access to those subsidies and ease the procedures for them. Joining the export family in 2020, 18,123 companies performed more than $3 billion export. Export family will sure be growing in 2021. All the stakeholders must focus on digitalization, industrial automation and logistics alternatives.”

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