After a series of meetings last week, Malaysian businessmen see a rich future in Turkey
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s official visit to Turkey at the end of July has started to bear fruit. Following the visit, which was covered widely in Turkish and Malaysian media, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) acted proactively and visited Ankara and Istanbul with a trade delegation of 20 people. At the end of the three-day event, which targeted a $25 million business potential, a $65 million business deal was signed. A Malaysian food company immediately started the process to open an office in Turkey while Arkas Logistics took the first step to enter the Asian market.
Chair of the Malaysian delegation, MATRADE Export Promotion and Market Access Division Senior Director Abu Bakar Yusof, spoke to DUNYA Executive in Istanbul on last week. Yusof said that more than 20 business people representing 15 Malaysian companies held 150 oneon-one meetings with 65 Turkish companies at the event in Istanbul. The Malaysian companies, mostly
in food and beverages, healthcare, logistics, bio-products and packaging, explored different areas of cooperation, he said. “Some of the companies are looking at cooperation for distribution of their products in Turkey; some seek Turkish partners to open up to Turkey’s neighboring markets. To us, Turkey is a gateway to Europe, the Middle East and African markets.” Yusof said that their priority target is Turkey’s big domestic market. “Secondly our goal is to reach other Asian markets via
partnerships with Turkish companies. Malaysian companies are already exporting to the Asian market. The agenda of Turkish companies is to deliver their products and services to Asia. In this sense, partnerships targeting Asian markets can be developed by using the advantages of the Malaysian connection.”
“Current trade balance in Malaysia’s favor”
The current bilateral trade balance is in Malaysia’s favor and there is a potential trade deficit for Turkey, Yusof noted. “We have to find ways to increase Turkish product and service exports to Malaysian and other Asian markets. A third field of cooperation is technology. Turkey has very advanced technology in the agriculture, food and healthcare industries. Malaysian companies can cooperate with Turkish companies in increasing their production capacity.”
MATRADE opened its Turkey office in 2014 when the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries was signed. Although its priority is to promote Malaysian products and services to foreign markets, it looks at what Turkish companies can offer to the country for import substitution. Believing that Malaysian companies need to be more informed about the opportunities Turkey has to offer, MATRADE officials have started to work on hosting a delegation of Turkish companies in Malaysia as a next step via holding talks with the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK).