UNIDO ITPO Tokyo organized the “Turkey Investment Seminar” on 31 May 2017, together with the Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME) and the Izmir Development Agency (IZKA).
As the third largest city in Turkey, Izmir lies along the Aegean Sea featuring the second largest port in the country. Such advantages have been attracting increasing number of foreign investments in the region.
The seminar attracted more than 90 participants eager to hear from those visiting from the region to Japan about the economic development of Izmir, along with its current situation, investment climate, and business opportunities. A specific case of an investment to the region by a Japanese company was also introduced at the event.
“Business missions from Izmir to Japan started in 2013. They came back in 2015 and are now here again in Tokyo in 2017. More and more companies are now going to Izmir to seek new business opportunities. The delegation from Izmir has been successful in promoting the region”, said Mr. Ferda Gelegen, Officer in Charge, UNIDO ITPO Tokyo in his opening remarks.
Mr. S. Mete Özbalaban, Commercial Counsellor, Turkish Embassy Office of the Commercial Counsellor followed by conveying that with the foreseen stability inpolitics and the economy,Turkey, which is currently the 17th economy in the world, aims to become one of the top 10 economies by 2023.
As a first speaker, Mr. Hakki Gökhan Elüstün, Investment Support Office Expert, Izmir Development Agency spoke on investment opportunities in Izmir, through a video and a presentation. With over 8,500 years of history, 300 days of sun and 600km of coastline, the region attracts over 2,400 companies including Japanese companies such as Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd, Ajinomoto Co., and Yusen Logistics.
Through the presentation by Mr. Göktürk Altınbaş, Manager, Marketing & Leasing, Aegean Free Zone, the Aegean Free Zone (ESBAS) in Izmir was introduced. A recipient of four international quality prizes, the free zone accommodates 171 companies. Mr. Altınbaş added that Japanese companies are most welcome in the extended area currently being built and to be operational by 2018. One Japanese company, Pigeon Corporation, through its affiliated company Lansinoh, has already invested in the free zone since 2015.
In the presentation entitled; “Business Environment in Turkey/Izmir for Japanese Companies”, Mr. Kemal Shoshi, Turkey Liaison Office Executive Manager, Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd introduced specifically the case of a Japanese company based in Izmir. Mr. Kemal, whose mother is Japanese and born in Istanbul, is well acquainted with the compatibility of the business practice between Turkey and Japan. He mentioned the strong purchasing power the Izmir region bears and added that the establishment of the local offices and factories by Japanese companies not only benefit them but also contributes to Turkey in reducing its unemployment rate.
The final presenter, Mr. Yasuyuki Murahashi, Senior Managing Director of JETRO Istanbul, touched upon one of the factors of most concern: security issues. Mr. Murahashi stated that the possible risk needs to kept in mind yet he has never encountered any issues living in the region. He also added that the foreseen stability in domestic politics should have a positive affect on the economic status of the country.
Mr. Akio Nakanishi, Managing Director, JCCME, closed the seminar by introducing that the total amount of trade was USD 4.3 bill. in 2016 and that the accumulated total amount of Japanese investment to Turkey reached JPY 1.5 trill. (USD 13.5 bill.) through over 200 companies. Mr. Nakanishi closed the remarks by stating that he very much looks forward to further expansion of business in the region by Japanese companies.
In addition to the detailed question on the Japanese network/association in Izmir and the enthusiasm expressed towards the region, various comments were voiced during the reception: “The format of the seminar; starting with the host country, then moving on to the investing party and a third party, allowed us to better understand about the region”, “From the perspective of a private sector, having UNIDO and other organizations as a door keeper with the local government is most helpful”. An expert familiar with the region also states that “although what is shown through the media may create hesitation for Japanese companies to enter the market, I am confident that we will be seeing more enthusiasm in the next few years”.
Date/Time: Wednesday, 31 May 2017
<Seminar> 13:30 – 15:30 / <Networking> 15:30 – 17:00
Venue: United Nations University, Elizabeth Rose Hall (5F)
Organizer: UNIDO ITPO Tokyo, Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME), Izmir Development Agency (IZKA)
Supporters: Turkish Embassy, The Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Investment Support and Promotion Agency (ISPAT), The Japan-Turkey Society, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)