"Time for win-win in trade for turkey, Portugal"
Amid global economic volatilities, Turkish and Portuguese companies must begin establishing partnerships in fast-growing markets in which each has wide experience before they lose more time missing opportunities in this area, a Portuguese business union head has told Today's Zaman. Francisco Mantero, the vice president of the board for the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries' (CPLP) Business Confederation, met with officials from the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) in Istanbul last week to discuss how companies from Turkey and Portugal could benefit from each other's business experience and their traditional markets. Also the head of the Portuguese Association for Economic Development and Cooperation (ELO), Mantero says they expect to offer advice to Turkish firms seeking to invest in Portuguese-speaking countries -- namely, Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor -- while also receiving support from Turkish officials to help Portuguese firms branch out into Central Asian markets or Turkic republics. "We know that Turkey looks to boost its presence particularly in African markets while Portuguese firms are keen to diversify their exports. There are vast opportunities that each country can help the other benefit in this regard," he explained. Mantero said different firms, including German and Nordic firms, for instance, looked to share their know-how with Portugal when entering CPLP markets and their respective economic communities. Mantero said that infrastructure, agriculture, renewable energy and water distribution are the key areas of investment in CPLP member states. Noting that there are no Turkish-owned businesses established in Portugal, he said: "We would like to first break the ice, the psychological barrier here. Turkish firms should realize the importance of Portugal-based firms in CPLP countries and benefit from their experience." "Africa has a critical place here and an International Monetary Fund [IMF] report shows seven of the 10 fastest growing economies in the next five years will be in Africa. Chinese, American, Japanese and Indian firms are becoming influential in Africa and Portuguese and Turkish firms can compete with these giants through joint ventures," Mantero argued. "On the other hand, 80 percent of Portuguese exports are sent to Europe and we look forward to diversifying our export markets. Turkey can help by guiding us in markets such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia and Azerbaijan," he added. Turkey has increased its mutual trade with Africa fivefold in a decade to nearly $30 billion in 2012 and aspires to boost this figure to $50 billion by 2015.