Turkey can be an attractive location for the manufacturing of apparel and textile goods. It sits at an important juncture between Europe and Asia, straddling political, economic, and geographic lines. Not even 2,200km from Istanbul to Berlin, Turkey’s proximity to the European Union (EU), and membership in the EU customs union, serves as one of its most appealing attributes.
The corporate tax rate currently sits at 22%, three percent lower than its two top garment exporting competitors, China and Bangladesh. In an effort to make business and investing in Turkey as attractive as possible, the process has been streamlined so it takes on average not even seven days to start a business in Turkey. Even more, the government has laid out a series of incentives and subsidies targeted at strengthening and expanding the manufacturing industry.
Is sourcing from Turkey worth it?
Boasting an official workforce of roughly one million, nearly 53,000 factories produce tens of billions of dollars’ worth of apparel and textile goods every year. In fact, in 2017 Turkey exported $14.8billion worth of apparel goods that include sportswear. A vast majority – 73% – of those goods were exported to the EU.
Yet despite these strong figures, Turkey faces some challenges. In the face of these challenges, businesses have to ask themselves, Is Turkey still worth it?
An economic plan for Turkey’s manufacturing future
Yet, despite any issues it may have, Turkey is looking to maintain and increase its competitive edge through development and investment. The main goal on Turkey’s list is to achieve $500billion worth of exports and a $2trillion GDP by 2023. As part of this plan, Turkey is seeking to make a number of investments and improvements to increase growth.
One of the key target areas is that of infrastructure. Turkey plans on adding 13,000km worth of roads as well as 12,000km in new railways to allow for easier shipping. There are also plans to increase the number of logistics centers from 8 to 21 over the same period. Here the hope is to maximize the rate at which goods can be exported to the EU as a way to try and mitigate higher labor costs.
Business and ethical factors shape Turkey’s sourcing appeal
As a major trading partner and textiles producer Turkey cannot be ignored, nor should it. Companies must be smart when doing business in Turkey, especially as it seeks to spur economic growth. Even as its proximity and workforce size and skill prove to be attractive incentives, risk factors remain that must be addressed for both business and ethical reasons.