Turkey's dynamic market presents opportunities for Singapore: Iswaran

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (left) and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (right) shake hands at the Istana Presidential Palace in Singapore on Aug 21, 2017.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (left) and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (right) shake hands at the Istana Presidential Palace in Singapore on Aug 21, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - Turkey is a promising and dynamic market which presents opportunities for Singapore companies, while Singapore can serve as a springboard into Asia for Turkey companies, said Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) on Monday (Aug 21).

Mr Iswaran was speaking at the Turkey-Singapore Business Forum at the Ritz Carlton Millenia. Earlier on Monday, both countries had ratified the Turkey-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will come into force on Oct 1.

Mr Iswaran said: "Turkey represents a large, dynamic market for Singapore businesses, with a population of 80 million and a GDP (gross domestic product) of nearly US$860 billion in 2016.

"Turkey is a successful regional hub for manufacturing and other business activities. Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey provides access to Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa."

Economic ties between Turkey and Singapore have strengthened in recent years, said the minister. Over the past decade, annual bilateral trade in goods has consistently been valued at more than S$1 billion. In 2016, bilateral trade in goods amounted to S$1.41 billion.

Mr Iswaran noted some key benefits of the FTA. These include tariff elimination on goods, fewer non-tariff barriers, better access to services markets, and the ability to bid for government procurement contracts.

 

He said Turkey and Singapore have both prioritised development in infrastructure, healthcare, fintech, and e-commerce.

"These are areas in which Singapore companies have built up expertise and a good track record globally, and I am confident that they can be valuable partners in Turkey's growth and development," said Mr Iswaran.

He noted that a number of Singapore companies already have an active presence in Turkey, and are doing well in diverse sectors including ports and logistics services, urban infrastructure, healthcare and hospitality.

PSA, for one, is working with Akfen Holding and IFM Investors to manage and develop Turkey's Mersin Port, ST Electronics partnered CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co Ltd, to install passenger information systems on the Izmir Light Rapid Transit, while Jurong consultants master-planned Petkim's petrochemical complex in Aliaga. Banyan Tree and Turkish developer, Nef, will be developing and operating Banyan Tree Bodrum.