Sayın Büyükelçi Vural Altay'ın ülkemizin onur konuğu olarak katıldığı SIAL 2011'in açılışında gerçekleştirilen basın toplantısında yaptığı konuşma

Şefik Vural Altay 21.11.2011

Excellencies,


 


Distinguished Members of the Press,


           


Ladies and Gentlemen,


 


 


At the outset, I would like to underline that it is a great pleasure for me to participate in the press conference of the SIAL Middle East 2011, the Middle Eastern Food Exhibition which is one of the biggest of its kind in the world as Turkey being the country of honour among 80 participating countries.


 


I would like to thank the Abu Dhabi Government and all the organisers of this Exhibition for the hard work they put into this event so as to make it happen.


 


As the country of honour, I am proud to say at the outset that UAE is Turkey’s largest trading partner among the GCC countries. UAE boasts a dynamic economy, driven by not only oil income but also on trade, finance, manufacturing and tourism.  We see SIAL Middle East as one of the focal points of this outstanding development.


 


On the other hand, I would like to mention that although trade figures between UAE and Turkey seem high, the share of food and agriculture is quite low considering the huge potential of these sectors. We have ample space to work on these issues.


 


In the last decade, the volume of bilateral trade between Turkey and the UAE increased from US$355 million in 2000 to over 4 Billion $ in 2010.  This year we are expecting this figüre to reach 4,5 billion US Dollars (3,3 Billion $ Turkey’s exports to the UAE, 698 Million $ the UAE’s exports to Turkey.) Last year, Turkey exported food products valued at 131 million $ to the UAE. Foremost among these exports are fresh vegetables, sugar and chocolate confectionery, vegetable oils, and wheat flour.


 


The participation of 37 Turkish companies and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce at SIAL Middle East affirms our commitment to strengthen trade ties between Turkey and the UAE in this field. We believe that Turkey’s participation as “country of honour” at this edition of SIAL Middle East is a significant development for both countries.


 


I am proud to say that Turkey will have the largest pavillion at SIAL Middle East in Abu Dhabi where Turkish companies will be exhibiting their best food products such as olive and olive oil, pasta, organic food, dried fruit, tea, pulses, grains, canned food and many others. As a matter of fact, Turkey leads the world markets in terms of both production and exports for some of these products.


 


I would also like to underline that aside from trade, Turkey offers excellent agriculture and food investment opportunities to GCC investors. Thanks to its favorable ecological conditions and climate, Turkey has a huge agricultural sector and is the largest producer and exporter of agricultural products in the Near East and Africa. Turkey possesses 39 million hectare of land which is under cultivation. In our country, investors also benefit from advanced automation systems used in agricultural production and state subsidies provided by our government.


 


I believe that Turkey’s food and agriculture sectors and the UAE’s food security plan perfectly complement each other. As you all know, food security is becoming a top priority issue in all Gulf countries. Rapid population growth, declining or non-existing water resources, limited arable land compel Gulf countries including the UAE to develop alternative policies and new solutions.


 


Rising at a rate of 4,6 % annually from 2011-2015 in a region low on agricultural land and natural water resources, and forced to import 90 % of its food products, food consumption in the GCC will reach 51,5 million tonnes per year during this period.


 


Given these facts, Turkey stands as an alternative for investments in agricultural production. Nowadays, we witness many developments in this field, prominent companies of Gulf states have been investing in Turkey’s agriculture and food sectors.


 


We consider this development very important in terms of our bilateral relations and the benefits it entails in providing the agricultural needs of the wider region. We have a lot to gain from this partnership and we are ready to deepen this partnership by all our means.


 


Having the pleasure to speak on behalf of Turkey at this press conference, the country of honour for SIAL Middle East 2011, I once again thank the Abu Dhabi Government and the organisers of this Event and wish all the success to the forthcoming SIAL.


 


Thank you.


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