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Spotlight on Turkey’s healthcare industry
Conveniently located at the heart of three continents, Turkey is the rising star of international wellness and health industry, with dynamic and skilled workforce, large investment, booming number of hospitals and medical institutions, and extensive healthcare services. Unsurprisingly, the medical product and pharmaceutical industries are both thriving and becoming impeccable suppliers of healthcare services provided to millions from all around the globe.
Intensive R&D projects, cost benefits, and good logistics all contribute to Turkey’s innovative strengths. Solid knowledge enables the best medical products and pharmaceuticals for the common good of mankind.
Turkish Medicals has come into prominence in the worldwide market with high production capacity, product quality, and adaptability in addition to advanced technology with knowhow and competitive prices for high quality.
The pharmaceutical industry of Turkey has many years of experience in manufacturing, with international quality standards, empowering its position with the membership of PIC/S.
Istanbul Chemicals and Chemical Products Exporters' Association (İKMİB) was established in 1991 as the leading representative of Turkish exporters in the chemicals and chemical products industry. In an interview, Adil PELİSTER, the Chairman of the Board, İKMİB, highlighted that The Association covers officially over 17,000 exporters in chemical industry on a national scale and around 7,000 of them are active members and export around the world. The association renders service as being allied with the Secretariat General of Istanbul Mineral and Metals Exporters’ Association under the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), as being ultimately affiliated to Republic of Turkey Ministry of Trade. Excerpts:
Tell us about yourself and how long have you been with İKMİB?
I was elected as the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Elective General Assembly Meeting of İKMİB in April 2018. From the day I took office until today, together with my management team, colleagues and valuable members of our industry, we have succeeded in making our chemical industry the second largest exporting industry. In this context, we make a significant contribution to the export numbers of our sector and the economy of our country by carrying out many activities with 16 sub-sectors from plastic to rubber, from cosmetics to medicine, from paint to medical sector. We continue to work to put the Chemical Technology Center into operation by the end of next year, which is one of our most important projects that we believe will make a great contribution to the development of our industry.
In 2021, our chemical industry exports amounted to 25.40 billion dollars with an increase of 38.79 percent in value compared to 2020. In the January-December period of 2021, our pharmaceutical industry realized an export of 1.43 billion dollars with an increase of 19.41 percent in value compared to the same period of 2020.
As İKMİB, we carry out activities to sustain the professional ethics and cohesion of Turkish export companies in the chemicals industry, increase export levels, diversify export products and increase products' competitiveness. We also defend our members' rights and interests, help them form strong relations in the international arena and support them in getting into new markets.
Our association continues the organizational work in Turkey with primary goals of being in close relationships with all the sub-sectors of the chemicals industry, following new developments and innovations in the sector closely and engaging new customers overseas.
Our vision is to direct and assist the Turkish chemicals and chemical products sector to become a leading country in the global chemicals trade. Our mission is to develop and implement strategies to increase the share of the Turkish chemicals and chemical products exporters in global markets and maintain a sustainable global competitive strength. Our values are quality, reliability, continuous improvement, and innovation.
The organization of our country's national participation at Arab Health 2022 will be made by our Association. In 2022, under our national participation organization, 35 companies will participate, which is the largest event organized in the world in the health sector, while 102 companies will participate individually. At the fair, Turkish companies will exhibit products that are becoming increasingly important due to COVID-19, such as medical devices, products, consumables, hospital furniture, surgical equipment, orthopedic products, pharmaceuticals and software products.
We are waiting for all the participants of the fair to visit the Turkish National Participation Pavilion.
We can call this transformation “digital data dominance”. In today's world, digital transformation is very closely related to the health sector, just as it affects every aspect of our lives. In this respect, we can say that digitalization is a process that accompanies all areas of the health sector, from production to consumption, from the patient's entrance to the exit from the hospital. While this process brings advantages such as time and cost savings in all aspects, it also leads to an exponential increase in technological development.
Steps towards this have been taken for a long time in our country. In this context, large-scale e-health projects were put into practice. The management of health services through web-based technology and applications still continues. On the other hand, our companies continue to accompany this transformation in the entire process of their production day by day. This makes them more competitive and preferable at the same time.
Last year, our government took a significant step in this regard. In order to make the necessary investments for the production of high value-added products in the chemical industry, the Technology-Oriented Industry Move program is being carried out by our Ministry of Industry and Technology. In the list of chemical and pharmaceutical products that were called for within the scope of the move program, 98 strategic products that we determined in our Turkish Chemical Industry Investment Priority Products Report prepared by us as İKMİB were also included. Within the scope of the program, investments in ICT-based Innovative Medical Devices, New Generation Prosthesis and Orthoses, Robotic Surgical Technologies, innovative medical imaging systems, implants, medical consumables, biotechnological drugs and pharmaceutical technologies and artificial tissue/organ technologies are supported.
Adapting to this process and the use of these technologies have become a must rather than an ordinary need. With the realization of priority product investments to be made in our country within the framework of the 2023 vision of our sector, the growth potential will increase. In this direction, we foresee that our exports of the chemical industry will approach the level of 30 billion dollars in 2023.
By 2030, we aim to rank the chemical industry first among the sectors that export the most, to reach 40 billion dollars in exports and to increase the export value per kilogram. In order to achieve these aims, we believe that our Chemistry Technology Center, which we plan to activate this year, which will support R&D studies, contribute to the production of high value-added products, as well as the Move Program of our Ministry, will add great strength to our sector.
In the first half of 2022, we foresee that the effects of logistical difficulties, raw material supply and price problems, as well as the negative effects of new variants of the coronavirus will continue to prevail. On the other hand, the improvement of the economic environment is of great importance in terms of investments to be made in our sector and ensuring the sustainability of our increase in exports.
The increasing demands for our country, which is located in the middle of Europe and Asia and has an advantageous position in terms of logistics, especially in the supply chain changing with the pandemic, opened an important door of opportunity for us. It is of great importance that we increase our production and export capacity in response to the increasing demand. We think that investments to be made in strategic areas in our country are important for the future of our industry. We find the Technology-Oriented Industry Move program carried out by our Ministry of Industry and Technology very important in order to make the necessary investments in the production of high value-added products in the chemical industry.
The EU market, to which we export the most, accounts for 39 percent of our total chemical exports. For this reason, we carefully follow the regulations planned to be implemented within the framework of the European Green Deal and the changes being made in the EU Chemicals Legislation. In addition, the USA, China, Russia, Mexico and India are among our priority target countries for all our sub-sectors.
On the other hand, Near and Middle Eastern Asian Countries come in second place with a 17 percent share in our chemical exports. As a matter of fact, Azerbaijan-Nakhchivan, Iraq and Iran constitute the first three countries in our pharmaceutical sector. For this reason, this region is also an important market for us.
On the other hand, we continue to work on our Chemistry Technology Center project, which is important for the future of our chemical industry and will primarily serve on behalf of our plastics, cosmetics, paint and rubber industries. We continue our preparations without slowing down to activate our Chemical Technology Center within this year, which will include a digital library, reference laboratories that will provide certification services with international accreditation, an R&D center and an entrepreneurship incubation center.
How important is the resumption of international travel to your business?
Unfortunately, the pandemic has deeply affected all fields and sectors from public health to economy, from logistics to supply chain, from tourism to education. In the new world where technology and digital come to the fore, our habits have also started to change. It has become inevitable to make changes in every sector to adapt to the requirements of the new digital age.
During the pandemic, our chemical industry did not interrupt its production and export. As İKMİB, we acted by considering human health first and gave priority to the needs of our country. On the other hand, as İKMİB, we pioneered the digital transformation that came to the fore in the pandemic, leading to many firsts. We held Turkey's first sectoral virtual trade delegation in digital exports and the first digital award ceremony in exports.
However, of course, we find the resumption of travels as a positive development. While maintaining our digital activities, we find it important to continue our physical activities without slowing down in order to maintain our competitiveness.