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Turkey as new global manufacturing hub

As per United Nations Statistics Division published data, China accounted for 28.7 percent of global manufacturing output in 2019. This has been a huge leap from 1990 when China used to produce less than 3 percent of global manufacturing output. In this short span of time, China left the US behind which was previously the […]

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As per United Nations Statistics Division published data, China accounted for 28.7 percent of global manufacturing output in 2019. This has been a huge leap from 1990 when China used to produce less than 3 percent of global manufacturing output. In this short span of time, China left the US behind which was previously the world’s manufacturing superpower and thereby leading to US-China trade war.

 

This has made big multinationals rethink their global supply chains. A recent McKinsey report suggests that big companies could shift a quarter of their global sourcing to new countries in the next five years. Climatic risks, cyber-attacks, and the ongoing pandemic are all the factors acting as a catalyst in bringing the companies to follow the trend. In such an environment, there are few countries that are trying hard to exploit the opportunity and project themselves as the manufacturing hub. One such emerging country is Turkey, which shows a promising future

 

Is Turkey a new manufacturing destination? Major consumer markets have mostly preferred Asia based supply system due to cheaper costs, but global supply chain disruptions due to the COVID situation and various other factors are making them turn towards new and closer manufacturers. Turkey has a geographically strategic location right between Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa and has always been regarded as important for global trade. Its value has further been accelerated by the customs union with EU and an array of FTA’s with almost 30 countries, giving it access to millions of customers.

 

One of the positive points to add about Turkey is its established domestic logistics network enabling it to ship the goods faster. Its position coupled with the skilled and cost-effective workforce is considered to be the winning formula for the success of Turkey. Though the labor cost is comparatively higher than its far east competitors but it is still lower than others due to exchange rates and local cost. Manufacturing industries in Turkey are very diverse but the manufacture of textiles is its largest industry which is very competitive in the international market and earns foreign exchange the most. There has been a continuous change in the global clothing industry and the demand has also been from the regions in the Far East and the Southern Hemisphere. Also, with the rise in demand in the domestic markets in Asian countries, the export balance is changing thereby pulling the production costs comparatively up. Turkey’s automation in production, geographical proximity, and economical cost of production provide significant savings and an edge over its competitors. Turkey has well positioned itself to boost its manufacturing capabilities and capitalize on this opportunity.

 

Turkish industry and technology minister also noted in March 2021 that the manufacturing industry was the biggest contributor to Turkey’s GDP performance last year amid the pandemic, suggesting it will only expand further at a faster rate. They have been gearing up for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and focusing on innovative research and the country’s digital transformation. Over the years, the ranking of Turkey by World Bank in terms of ease of doing business has only gotten better to 33 in 2019. All these conscious efforts and steps taken by the country show the fluidity and eagerness to grow further as a manufacturing nation. Turkey faces various roadblocks and challenges in its path to become the go-to for global production. Few reasons which pull it on the back seat include higher political risks, currency fluctuations, and language and cultural differences. Turkey needs to address these issues to further increase the momentum it has gained so far. Turkey has positioned itself well in the global value chain by offering its flexible production capabilities, lower labor costs, and exploiting its logistical advantage. It has been focusing on upgrading its maritime and logistic infrastructure and the government is very hopeful about the country’s growth due to its production infrastructure even in the pandemic era. This pandemic has made it clear that over-reliance on one country could be detrimental for the world economy and global supply chain while emphasizing the need for diversification. The manufacturing output of China saw an unprecedented decline due to the COVID situation and this shock has made businesses lookout for alternatives. Turkey is innovation-driven and possesses the capability to prosper in manufacturing. It levels out its comparative higher production costs by shorter timelines and quick adaptability to changing markets. With the greater focus on automation and technological advances, Turkey can emerge out as a smart manufacturer in the globally competitive marketplace and be the one-stop destination.

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