EGİAD Aegean Young Businessmen Association, which gives importance to cooperation, partnership and business trips with abroad within the scope of Foreign Trade Envoys, finally rolled up its sleeves for cooperation with Belgium. Aegean Young Businessmen Association, which gives priority to the development of commercial links with Belgium, Turkey's 17th largest trading partner (EGİAD), within the scope of the Foreign Trade Ambassadors Project, included Belgium, the center of the European Union (EU), among its target markets. Belgium's economy, geographical location, developed transportation network and various industrial and commercial structures were discussed in the event, and it was aimed to increase the trade volume between the two countries. To the meeting titled “Invest in Brussels” held at the Association Headquarters, EGİAD President Alp Avni Yelkenbiçer hosted. Organized with the contributions of Pınar Berberoğlu, Member of the Board of Directors and Belgian Foreign Trade Ambassador; Brussels Region Economy and Trade Attaché Stefano Missir di Lusignano, Brussels Region Trade and Investment Representative Müge Kaçar, Belgium Turkey Chamber of Commerce President Tuğrul Şeremet, Brussels Bar Association Lawyer and Investment Specialist Başar Yılmaz, Brussels Bar Association Lawyer and Investment Specialist Burak Karakaya, IZFAS International Relations Coordinator Tuğçe Cumalıoğlu attended as a speaker.
Turkey, which ranks first in exports to Belgium in motor vehicles, spare parts and accessories, zinc ore, jewellery, textile products, machinery and equipment, plastic products, is in imports of cast iron, petroleum oils, ethylene polymer, pharmaceutical industry, chemicals and related products. It has an important place in industrial products, plastics and auto parts. Belgium, which is among the most developed economies in Europe with its industry, port, canal, railway and highway infrastructures, is a major player in textile, iron and steel, refining, food processing and production, chemical industry, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, electrical electronics and machinery production. EGİADHe also managed to enter the branding of the young business world.
Making the opening speech of the meeting EGİAD President Alp Avni Yelkenbiçer stated that they gave priority to developing commercial links with Belgium, Turkey's 17th largest trade partner, and noted that they accelerated their partnership and cooperation with abroad within the scope of Foreign Trade Envoys. EGİAD Reminding that 60% of its members have partnerships, foreign trade and similar cooperations with abroad, Yelkenbiçer said, “We aim to play an important role in the development of commercial links between the two countries. Belgium, which is one of the founding states of the European community among the countries dependent on world trade, realizes three-quarters of its exports with other EU countries and supports the integration of the economies of EU countries with each other. While Turkey exported 2021 billion dollars to Belgium in 4,9, it imported 5,6 billion dollars from Belgium. Being the 25th largest economy in the world, Belgium has a strategic advantage due to its location in the center of Western Europe and its multicultural structure. Belgium, which has a developed infrastructure in terms of transportation and communication to other countries in Europe, is integrated with the industries of the surrounding countries with its port, road, airline and railway network in transportation and logistics. Belgium ranks 46th in the World Bank's "Ease of Doing Business" index and EGİADIt is also close to the brand in terms of the business culture of .
EGİADForeign Trade Ambassadors from Turkey to Europe
Stating that the ancient friendship and close relationship between Turkey and Belgium has continued for centuries, Yelkenbiçer said, “Diplomatic relations were established between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Ottoman Empire in 1838. Based on this historical background, reading the commercial and cultural relationship between Belgium and Turkey today makes the importance of Belgium for Turkey and Turkey for Belgium understandable. The positive experiences in the relations between Belgium and Turkey make it possible for the economic dynamism to function in a stable manner. EGİAD I visited Brussels in 2011. Me too EGİAD on my first trip abroad. We participated in the European Business Summit with a large delegation as supporting partners. We had the opportunity to evaluate possible collaborations by visiting the TÜSİAD Brussels representation and by visiting the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs. In order to revive our relations in this period, we have appointed our board member Pınar Berberoğlu as the Belgian foreign trade ambassador. As you know, it started in the 15th period and continued in the 16th period we are in, and which we attach great importance to. EGİAD With the Foreign Trade Ambassadors project, our members who want to establish a company abroad or export directly, and those who already have a good knowledge of this subject and have foreign investments EGİAD We aim to strengthen business networks by bringing its members together. Until today EGİAD from among our members to the countries of the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Sri Lanka, Montenegro, Belgium EGİAD We appointed our foreign trade ambassadors. Having a business partnership with Belgium for more than a quarter of a century, EGİAD Dear Pınar, our Foreign Trade Ambassador, is one of the architects of the event. I thank him very much. EGİAD as foreign trade; We attach great importance to investment in foreign countries and the arrival of foreign capital in our country, and we try to guide our members in this regard. In the light of the valuable information we will obtain today, I wish the trade between the two countries to increase even more and the cooperation between the institutions to be strengthened.”
Izmir's Doors Open to the World
In his speech at the meeting, Brussels Region Economy and Trade Attaché Stefano Missir di Lusignano, who gave information about the reasons for investing in Brussels, pointed out that the EU is an important market for export-oriented companies and said, “Izmir's trade with the world and Europe is not new. We know the civilization of the beautiful city, the important role it played from generation to generation. Figs, olive oil and industrial products show us the quality of the products grown here. These products are exported all over the world.”
Brussels Izmir House
İZFAŞ International Relations Coordinator Tuğçe Cumalıoğlu, who gave information about the promotion of İzmir-Brussels Liaison Office, stated that they opened İzmir House in Brussels as the Metropolitan Municipality and said, “We want to open the doors of İzmir to the world. We are working to make our city a center of global trade, tourism, culture and attraction. Established in Brussels, Izmir House will provide an environment where every Izmirian will feel at home. Brussels is one of the most important political strategic points. There are very important institutions for global politics. It hosts regional and non-governmental organizations and large private sector companies. We believed that Brussels was the right address for Izmir House”.
Stating that Brussels is one of the most important political, economic and strategic points, Cumalıoğlu said, “Besides being the capital of the European Union, Brussels, where important international organizations such as the United Nations and NATO are located, is actually the capital of diplomacy. In Brussels, which embraces international diversity, approximately 70 percent of the population consists of non-Belgian origins. Some of them contribute to the development of social cohesion by obtaining citizenship afterward. In line with all these, we believed that Brussels was the right address and starting point for the Izmir house.”
Expressing that İzmir was deemed worthy of the 2022 Europe Award of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe this year, Cumalıoğlu said, “This award is given to the most active city in supporting the European ideal every year. As a city that has embraced European values so much, we will be able to convey the city diplomacy and activities of Izmir at first hand, where we can hold meetings in the EU capital that will strengthen our city's international cooperation. The Izmir House will increase lobbying efforts for the benefit of our city. Izmir House will provide quick access to events and collaborations related to Izmir in Europe. Meeting with partners from both the private and public sectors will increase the efficiency. In this way, EU and especially Brussels-based funds, awards and all kinds of developments will be regularly reported to İzmir. It will contribute to the full representation of İzmir in the future as we move towards a world where cities compete more than countries.” Stating that İzmir House will contribute to the implementation of the EU green agreement action plan, Cumalıoğlu said, “İzmir promised 2030 carbon zero. We believe that our city will make the highest contribution in the green transformation process. We opened the İzmir house within the renewable energy house in Brussels”.
Brussels Bar Association lawyer and investment expert Başar Yılmaz and Burak Karakaya informed the participants about the steps to be taken to establish a business in Brussels. At the meeting, Tuğrul Şeremet, President of Belgium-Turkey Chamber of Commerce, conveyed the logistics and practical suggestions that should be considered when trading with Belgium. Şeremet stated that İzmir has a direct connection with Belgian trade due to Alsancak and Aliağa Ports and that Turkey has become more valuable geographically in terms of trade and logistics due to the Ukraine-Russia war.