Turkey a promising market for business: Iswaran

Singapore can serve as a springboard into Asia for Turkish firms, says Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran.
Singapore can serve as a springboard into Asia for Turkish firms, says Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Turkey is a promising and dynamic market that presents opportunities for Singapore companies, while Singapore can serve as a springboard into Asia for Turkish firms, said the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) yesterday.

Mr S. Iswaran told the Turkey-Singapore Business Forum at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia: "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 (S$1.17 trillion) 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."

His remarks came after both countries ratified the Turkey-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which will come into force on Oct 1.

Economic ties between Turkey and Singapore have strengthened in recent years, he said. Over the past decade, annual bilateral trade in goods has been valued at over $1 billion. Last year, it was $1.41 billion.

Mr Iswaran noted some key benefits of the free-trade deal, including 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 example, is working with Akfen Holding and IFM Investors to manage and develop Turkey's Mersin Port.

ST Electronics partnered CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive 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 develop and operate Banyan Tree Bodrum.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2017, with the headline 'Turkey a promising market for business: Iswaran'. Print Edition | Subscribe