In addition to the end products it provides such as plastic, cosmetics, medicines and dyes, chemical industry has an important role in economy as a sector providing byproducts and raw materials to many sectors.
70 % of the raw materials used in the sector (organic, inorganic chemicals, dyes and pigments, industrial gases, medical chemicals, rubber, plastic etc.) are obtained through import and 30 % are through domestic production. Chemical industry is aiming to have a leading position in the world with its products of high added value, sensitive to environmental and human health in a sustainable and competitive way by improving the balance of foreign trade in favor of its country.
We talked with İstanbul Chemical Materials and Products Exporters Unions (İKMİB) Chairman of the Executive Board Murat Akyüz, who continues his works within this framework.
Can you briefly talk about the development of Turkish Chemical Industry?
“Turkish chemical industry has a key role in our economy. It has entered almost all industrial branches and it provides the by product. It owns important sub sectors such as mineral oils and fuels, plastic products, dye, cosmetics, medicine and pharmaceutical products and medical products. Within the period of 10 years, there was a fast growth in all of our sub sectors. When we consider it in terms of exportation, we see that the sector exportation, which was 4 billion 995 million dollars in the year 2004, reached 18 billion dollars in the year 2014. Chemistry has reached a position that appeals to byproducts and became the input of many of the sectors.”
What are your targets for the forthcoming future as İKMİB (İstanbul Chemical Materials and Products Exporters Unions)?
“Our union, which operates under the roof of İMMİB (İstanbul Chemical Materials and Products Exporters Unions), is working to get Turkish chemical industry powerful in the foreign markets and to increase its exportation. It guides the exporting companies in the chemical industry and works hard for the solution of the sector’s problems. International Fairs and Sectoral Trading Committees, which is organized by our union, play an important role in helping the Turkish exporters’ access to new markets. With the info and national participation fair organizations held in the leadership of İKMİB, works conducted within the scope of UR-GE, trades and initial committees, 415 sector companies traveled 373 thousand kilometers in the last year. In addition to the new market operations we are informing our companies in order to protect their share in the current markets. We are giving support for the creation of new projects that will increase the competitive power of chemical sector against other sectors. We, as chemical industry, aim to reach an exportation worth of 50 billion dollars in the year 2023. All of our operations and works move forward towards this aim. As İKMİB, the works we will conduct with trading and purchasing committees, national participation fair organizations within the scope of UR-GE continue non-stop. We will try to balance our exportations with neighboring countries, which were interrupted due to especially the environmental and geopolitical problem, with other markets we accessed such as Far East and Asia, South America and Sub Saharan Africa.”
What kind of contribution do textile chemicals make in textile products? Where do chemicals stand in textile sector?
“Textile sector with its important contributions to our country’s exportation also make use of the high added values of the chemical industry. Especially nano technological chemicals, stain proof chemical additives, anti-wrinkling textile products or flame retardant textile products provide important input for the textile sector. In short, it will not be wrong to say textile and chemicals are inseparable.”
What should be done for the environmental and human health? What does sustainability mean for you?
“One of the most important topics of today is helping the sustainability of the world and environment. In terms of sensitivity towards environment and humans, Turkey is at the same level with Europe and other developed countries. Many of our companies partaking in the sector produce by taking environmental and human sensitivity into consideration. Innovative products, technology and R&D investments gain importance at this point.”
When the world chemical industry is considered, where does our Turkish chemical industry stand?
“Turkish chemical sector is among the fastest developing and growing sectors of the world market. There are significant developments in our sub sectors. For example, plastic industry got to the second place with the increase both in exportation and in production. Our country is expected to become the biggest plastic producer in the year 2016. We are also in a good position in many of the product groups within the cosmetic sector. We are in the first three in the world in soap and hair products, and we are the second biggest wet wipes producers in the world. There are serious developments in dye sector as well. Turkish dye sector is the 6th biggest dye producer within Europe. The sub production areas of dye sector are also in a fast growth. All these improvements are promising for the future of the sector.”