The key ingredient that is missing in the India and Turkey bilateral relationship is awareness. The two countries do not have adequate knowledge about each other's political, social and cultural backgrounds because of which trade and investment has not reached the desired levels, said Dr. Burak Akcapar, Ambassador of Turkey to India, at an interactive session organized by FICCI here today.
A 25-member business delegation from Turkey representing some of the biggest names from the furniture sector and Indian industry representatives participated in the session.
Dr. Akcapar said that there was a massive imbalance in trade between the two nations, which can be improved if there is flexibility in taxation. New business models are needed to capitalize on each other's strengths, he added.
He said that diplomacy and business go hand in hand. Economic benefits can be tapped only when there is political will and both Turkey and India have started opening their doors for each other. This year, crucial diplomatic engagements took place between the two countries, where after 15 years, the President of India visited Turkey and Mr. Salman Khurshid, became the first Indian External Affairs Minister to visit Turkey in a decade.
In his presentation, Mr. Vural Cekinmez, Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of Turkey in India on 'Doing Business with Turkey', enumerated some of the reasons to invest in Turkey such as sound economic performance, young and dynamic population, qualified and competitive labor force, liberal and innovative investment climate, infrastructure, central location, energy corridor and terminal of Europe, low tax rates and incentive facilities, customs union with EU and open economy and domestic market.
Mr. Ahmet Ahiskali, President, INSIAD, said 10 years ago Turkeys' furniture exploration was only 350 million, and last year it increased seven-fold and reached $ 2 billion. In 2012, it increased by six ranks amongst the countries of furniture exporters, ascending to 15th rank from 21st position. The furniture trading activities between India and Turkey need to be enhanced, which is very poor at present.
Mr. Mehmet Ali Seker, Vice-President, ITBA, invited the Indian furniture industry to the upcoming furniture exhibition in the beginning of 2014. Tuskon has emerged as one the key initiators in enhancing the trade relations between India and Turkey.
Ms. Ambika Sharma, Deputy Secretary General and Head-FICCI International, said that the Indian furniture retail market is 14th largest furniture markets in the world due to the rising purchasing power of the Indian middle class population. This US$ 8 billion industry has been growing at 30% compound annual growth rate. The bilateral trade that stood at US$ 6 billion in 2012-13 with Indian exports accounting for US$ 4 billion of the total trade and Indian imports registering a growth of 99% over last year. However, this is not even one per cent of either country's total trade with rest of the globe. The key to increase the flow lies in broadbasing our economic engagement across sectors, she added.