The only coordinating organization of the Turkish automotive industry in exports, Uludağ Automotive Industry Exporters' Association (AIA) continues its efforts targeting the existing and alternative markets with the goal of reviving the exports that slowed down during the pandemic. Matching the Turkish firms with companies in the target markets at the Digital Sectoral Trade Delegation events it launched in June, AIA most recently started its Digital Sectoral Trade Delegation program for the UK. In total, 60 firms including 20 British companies attended the program held on 12-16 October with the support of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TEA) and the Ministry of Trade.
Under the program, parties also exchanged ideas about Brexit, which is considered as the most important factor to affect the bilateral trade between the UK and Turkey.
Speaking at the start of the event, Baran Çelik, AIA President, said the automotive industry was dealt the biggest blow from the pandemic, and they continued to strengthen Turkey's position in the industry as the supply chains were reshaped.
Baran Çelik: “Our 2021 target is to reach pre-pandemic figures”
President Çelik then provided information about the industry and pointed to 2021: “On a sectoral basis, the automotive industry has been the biggest exporter for the last 14 years. For the last three years, Turkey's automotive exports have been over USD30 billion per annum on average. With a production capacity of 2 million units and vehicle production capacity of 1.5 million units, we are the 14th biggest motor vehicle manufacturer of the world and 4th biggest manufacturer in Europe. Starting from 2021, our goal will be to achieve our pre-pandemic figures.”
Çelik said the importance of the EU countries, which account for nearly 80 percent of our exports could not be ignored: “UK is one of our biggest markets here. Our automotive exports to the UK had reached USD3 billion in 2018. In 2019, it was USD2.5 billion. In our exports to the UK, passenger cars and motor vehicles for hauling goods stood out. And the exports of our supply industry to the UK is above USD600 million.
Çelik also touched on the Brexit process, adding that there was currently no customs duty between Turkey and the UK due to the customs union between the EU and Turkey, but the main industry and the supply industry would be subject to customs duties of 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively, in the aftermath of Brexit.
Çelik said the Digital Sectoral Trade Delegation program organized within this scope would help advance the collaboration with the United Kingdom, promote most effectively our country's potential, and boost our trade for the industry as well as creating the necessary infrastructure for the upcoming Brexit period for the automotive industry and boosting the competitiveness in the UK market of the Turkish automotive industry.
Speaking at the opening of the delegation, Süleyman Beşli, Chief Commercial Counsellor at the Turkish Embassy in London, said the trade relations between the two countries would continue on the basis of the existing customs union agreement until 31 December 2021, adding the intention of both countries to sign a free trade agreement as well.
Beşli said that Turkey ranked 16th in the imports of the UK and continued: “Turkey's exports to the UK amount to approximately USD12 billion. This accounts for 1.8 percent of the UK's imports. Automotive and the automotive parts industry is our biggest export item. Its approximate volume is USD2 billion while automotive parts account for USD220 million.”
Following the opening address, Ruta Aisthorpe of The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders made a detailed presentation about the British Automotive Industry while Rohan Deshpande of Crescendo Worldwide Pvt. Ltd. provided information about the UK Aftermarket and the B2B negotiations. 20 Turkish firms and a total of 17 British firms attended and a total of 98 meetings were held at the four-day Digital Sectoral Trade Delegation, which also hosted bilateral business meetings.