Murtaza Karanfil, Head of Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) Turkey-Libya Business Council, underlined that countries that restarted production swiftly by combatting the COVID-19 outbreak will play a key role post-pandemic. Karanfil suggested that Turkey should improve its ability to respond quickly to demand and be ready for post-pandemic trade. Praising Turkey’s steps to mitigate economic fallout and to stem the spread of the coronavirus. If we add the production strategy aiming to respond quickly to orders, to those accurate steps, we can further expand our market share and we form the supply chain in our favor. Turkey’s market share in Libya can reach 30%, up from its current level of 13%, Karanfil stressed, adding that Turkey should also utilize its geopolitic position. The new normal will significantly change the supply chain and Turkey can grab the 25% market share of China and Italy in Libya. Thus, Turkey can increase its exports to Libya to $10 billion in medium-term while enhancing its influence in African market.
Coronavirus outbreak caused a contraction of 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2020 in the Libyan market, which provided $ 1.9 billion contribution to Turkey’s exports in 2019. As exports of 442.5 million dollars was carried out in January-March period in 2020, Murtaza Karanfil, head of Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) Turkey-Libya Business Council, said that in order to continue increasing the trade in 27 items, the ability to respond quickly to the demands should be developed and be ready after the pandemic.
Declaring that Turkey exports a wide range of products from raw vegetable and fruit to chemical products, ready-made clothing to furniture, from jewelry to machinery and accents, from electrical and electronic to building materials, Karanfil said, “The pandemic has caused contraction in all the country’s economy. However, the countries that have succeeded in fighting against the epidemic and started production will become an important position in the new normal of the world. As a country, we are carrying out an effective fight against the epidemic, as well as the measures taken and support packages issued to protect employment and sectors are extremely important. If we add the production strategy that will respond quickly to orders to these steps taken in place and in a timely manner, we can further increase the share we receive from many countries’ markets and arrange the supply chain in our favor. The sooner we control the epidemic and the sooner and more fully we go to production, the easier it will be to realize them. Here, we need to use all the advantages of our geopolitical location to the fullest. Libya is one of the places where our market share, which reaches 13% when we realize all these truths simultaneously and systematically, can reach 30% very easily. And the more we are right here, the more we can reach 10 billion dollars of export in the coming years, and our activity in the African market will increase more.”
Turkey may take the share of China and Italy
Stating that the other two countries, which have a 25% share in Libyan imports, are China and Italy, Karanfil said, “The quarantine measures implemented in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, which started in China and influenced all countries, started to build the new normal and new order. Even if the world gets rid of this plague, our life, production and trade will continue with this new normal. Those who rapidly control the epidemic and start production may be the important and even key players of the world trade, namely the supply chain. Turkey shows great effort to stay out of this, trading activities conducted via contactless commerce between countries still execute successfully our digital platform that can take us into the forefront of the Ministry of Commerce new normal way. We can add 25% of China and Italy shares to our market share, which is 13% in Libya, if we execute the right strategy.”
Pandemic may make Libya the new route of trade
Expressing that Libya is in a big structuring process, even if it is interrupted by the pandemic, its renewal activities will continue from where it left off, Karanfil said, “Turkey exports everything, which a country need, to Libya in the process of restructuring. Our exports in 2019 amounted to $ 1.9 billion. If there was no pandemic, we could well increase this figure to $ 3 billion in 2020. Libya, 3-day sea route from Turkey, is also the gateway to Africa. The epidemic changed trade routes in the world, Libya seems to be one of the ways trade is concentrated in the coming period. If Turkey positions Libya as a strategic point in the product trade to Africa, Turkey can reach $ 10 billion in the not too distant time in the export figures. The products, which are delivered to Libya from Turkey in three days, reach the interior of Africa in 7-10 days. The fact that the delivery time advantage is in favor of the delivery of the product, which takes up to one month when other trade routes are used, may well lead us to be the market leader.”
‘Nobody should think that my market is standing there.’
Giving information about what to do to be the most important actor of Libya and Africa market, Karanfil said, “The epidemic has shown that our immunity must be strengthened in the future, moreover, by making use of the opportunities of the digital world, it must be constantly strengthened. Libya and Africa are two very important markets and we have strong competitors here. Even if there is a pandemic, we need to continue our promotional activities in the market with all our strength. Our advice to those who are engaged in commercial activities for this market and those planning to be present is to keep their connections strong and invest in their digital infrastructure. Our preparation here will increase our mobility and speed. Speed will change the leaders of the markets when combined with quality product service. The world is going through a very important process and nobody should think that my market is standing there. Do not be compromised, because the world’s new normal will significantly change the supply chain.”
Karanfil also provided information on the current situation in Libya. He explained that there was a news flow in Tripoli, the most important city of the country, that his siege had ended, and that they expected the accumulation in needs and demands to cause an explosion in orders.
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