Originally published in Anadolu Agency on Jabuary 31, 2020
Turkey carries out projects, such as building furniture mall abroad, to increase exports, says head of business association
Turkey’s furniture sector, which sells goods to nearly 200 countries and regions, has set a target of $4.5 billion in exports, the head of a top trade group told Anadolu Agency.
The sector is focused on countries with huge potential – like China – to boost furniture exports, especially luxury goods, according to Nuri Gurcan, head of the Furniture Industry Businessmen Association (Mobsad).
“While per capita income is constantly rising in China, there is also an increase in luxury consumption. We are sending high-quality furniture to China, which is the world’s largest furniture exporter,” he said.
Turkey’s exports rose 12% to $3.5 billion in 2019 compared to the previous year, according to Turkish Exporters’ Assembly data.
Mobsad members produce handcrafted furniture with a price per kilogram of around $15-20 in exports, while it is around $3.5 for the overall exports of Turkish furniture sector, he said.
The added-value is an important issue for export incomes and all sectors should focus on raising it, according to Gurcan.
“Our priority is China, we join fairs in Shanghai and Guangzhou, our exports have been rising 100% annually to China during the last five years,” he said.
He also stressed that the Turkish furniture sector has an advantageous location compared to European countries.
“Due to China’s new Silk Route project, we will not reach only China, but also other far Asian countries,” he added.
Touching on the bilateral trade target of $100 billion between Turkey and the U.S., he said the U.S. is also a targeted country for the furniture sector.
Turkey released the Export Master Plan last September, for raising exports in five main sectors, which were machinery, automotive, electric and electronics, chemical and food.
The plan also prioritized 17 countries — the U.S., Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Morocco, South Africa, South Korea, India, Iraq, the U.K., Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Chile.
Furniture mall project in US, UAE
“The furniture sector carries out projects, such as building a storage area and a furniture mall, to increase exports to the U.S.,” he said.
Kayseri Organized Industrial Site and Turkey’s oldest furniture showrooms MODOKO and MASKO are preparing to open two furniture malls abroad — the U.S. and Dubai, United Arab Emirates luxury city — in the next couple of months.
This step is expected to increase Turkey’s furniture exports rapidly while the country will have a permanent sales channel and a global brand.
He added that the furniture mall project will bolster to the furniture sector.
Gurcan observed that Asian markets are important for the sector, but far away. “We should also focus on close markets where we can reach in 2-3 hours.”
Turkey’s share is around 12% in imports of neighborhood countries, he said, adding the country can raise it to 25-30%.
He added: “We should improve our brand value in our geography, especially in Russia.”
The Turkish furniture sector, which aims to perform $10 billion export as of 2023, employs around 250,000 people.