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Turkey trade promotion trip profitable

The trade mission to Turkey was a profitable trip for all involved, Trade Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton led a mission with three business sector representatives to Istanbul and Ankara during October 21 to 29. He said it was a successful follow-up from Prime Minister Helen Clark's visit there in April.

Mr Sutton said Turkey was not an easy market and would not suit all companies. But for companies who could operate there, it was a profitable market.

He pointed to the example of Hayes International, whose representative Wayne Kennedy sold five metal-working machines worth about $700,000 each during the week-long trade mission.

Hayes International had put a lot of work into the Turkish market, working with an excellent local agent, and were reaping the benefit of that, Mr Sutton said.

"The traditional agricultural products that New Zealand exported to Turkey in the past have proved to be subject to wildly fluctuating demand."

Instead, manufactured goods and the trade in services were likely to be the winners, Mr Sutton said.

Hayes International, educational products company Wendy Pye Group, and Waikato University sent representatives to Turkey with Mr Sutton. All found the mission extremely beneficial.

Wendy Pye Group representative Bob Andersen said that he had been sceptical about the usefulness of the trade mission before he joined but was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

"Even though i have been to Turkey a number of times, by being part of the delegation I got to see a different, more senior group of people. I am hopeful that these contacts will be useful in the future."

Mr Andersen said he had been working in Turkey for three years and his company was very near to signing up a major contract.

"These meetings in Ankara and Istanbul were an important stage in an ongoing process. We are very pleased with the results."

Waikato University pro vice-chancellor (international) Professor Peter Oettli said he found all four visits he made to universities in Ankara and Istanbul most interesting and productive.

"I am confident that we will be able to sign several co-operation and student exchange agreements in due course."

Professor Oettli said he found that Turkey had a very young population with about half being under 18 years of age.

"This means that in terms of attracting students from Turkey, there are two areas of opportunity - one at undergraduate level, where there is a large and growing demand from qualified school leavers for university places that cannot be satisfied by Turkish universities at the moment; and the other at graduate and post-graduate level. Turkey has established a number of new universities to cope with the increased demand, and many staff members at these new institutions will need to take advanced degrees to be internationally competitive."

Hayes International managing director Mike Lowe said Turkey was a new and growing market for his company. Sales there would account for 20 per cent of the company's turnover this year.

He said the company had received inquiries worth up to $3 million during the trade mission, which it hoped to finalise during the next three months.

"We're in 58 countries around the world and Turkey is just another one, but a potentially huge one for us."

Mr Lowe said having Mr Sutton visit Turkey and include company representatives and agents in official functions had been a "good feather in our agent's cap".

"It's a bit of kudos for the company? we'd support further delegations."

All three business representatives praised the work done on their behalf by diplomatic and Trade NZ staff in Turkey. They said that work had been extremely important in getting into the Turkish market.

ENDS

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