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Policy Proposals  Middle East and Affrica Joint Statement
The 26th Türkiye-Japan Joint Business Committee

10 October 2023, İzmir

On 10 October 2023, the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Türkiye ("DEİK" hereinafter) and Japan Business Federation ("Keidanren" hereinafter) co-organized the 26th Japan-Türkiye Joint Business Committee ("Joint Committee" hereinafter) in İzmir, Türkiye, which was held for the first time after the four-year break caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, since the last joint committee in November 2019 in Tokyo.

In the Joint Committee, both parties had lively discussions over a variety of issues such as the development of the business environment, the creation of mutually beneficial partnerships, and concrete measures towards deepening and broadening the bilateral economic relations.

DEİK and Keidanren will continue working towards the enhancement of the economic relations between Türkiye and Japan and raise the awareness of both business societies for more balanced trade and investment relations. Both institutions believe in the importance of a comprehensive and deep EPA and a social security agreement between Japan (as a member of the mega-FTAs) and Türkiye (that has the Customs Union with the EU as well as 27 FTAs with countries in the Middle East and Africa, as a hub connecting Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Africa), that would benefit both sides. Capitalizing on each FTA network, such as Japan-Türkiye EPA will enable a more strategic business development. Hence, both parties look forward to accelerated negotiations.

From the perspective of both deepening and broadening as well as balancing the trade and investment relationship between the two countries, it is important to ensure a free and smooth movement of natural persons, goods, capital, services, and information at a high standard.

DEİK and Keidanren recognize the constructive role of the Joint Committee in promoting collaboration between Turkish and Japanese companies and will continue to work together to overcome the challenges identified.

This Joint Statement was compiled and signed in two originals in English on 10 October 2023.

Oğulcan K. Sagun
Chairman, Türkiye-Japan Business Council, DEİK
Chair, Japan-Türkiye Economic Committee, Keidanren
Chair, Japan-Türkiye Economic Committee, Keidanren


Requests and Expectations from DEİK
(Foreign Economic Relations Board of Türkiye)

The 26th Türkiye-Japan Joint Business Committee Meeting has once again provided a vivid platform for Turkish and Japanese business representatives to engage in lively conversations and broaden their perspectives to increase their bilateral business endeavours towards each other.

Given this vast potential for trade between the countries, DEİK would like to take this opportunity to bring the below points into the consideration of the Government of Japan.

Requests and Expectations

  1. (1) Even though the increase of the bilateral trade between Türkiye and Japan is very remarkable, Turkish side expects a more balanced trade.
  2. (2) Turkish business circles expect Japanese government to take concrete steps towards conclusion of the EPA in line with Turkish proposals by considering imbalanced trade structure between the two countries.
  3. (3) Japanese side should improve offers within EPA Market Access negotiations (including the elimination of tariffs on agricultural products and leather goods, etc.).
  4. (4) Close cooperation and assistance needs to be provided for facilitating trade in the field of technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
  5. (5) Both countries should strengthen the collaboration among universities with a special focus on common design/development projects.
  6. (6) In order to support common R&D projects, exclusive / bilateral incentives in Techno-parks should be studied.
  7. (7) Türkiye's share in Japanese foreign direct investments needs to be increased and diversified, as well as more cooperation on joint projects in third countries, particularly in construction sector, should be promoted.
  8. (8) Developing cooperation in circular economy, green energy and automotive industry, waste management and start-up ecosystems needs to be encouraged.

Requests and Expectations from Keidanren
(Japan Business Federation)

Through the lively discussions in the Joint Committee, Japan's business recognized that the opportunities for deepening and broadening the bilateral economic relations and the several challenges needed to be overcome.

Taking this opportunity, Keidanren would like to ask for high consideration from the Government of the Republic of Türkiye on the following points raised by Japan's business.

Requests and Expectations

  1. (1) An economic partnership agreement and a social security agreement should be swiftly concluded between Türkiye and Japan.
  2. (2) Market access (including the elimination of tariffs on automobile key components, etc.) should be improved.
  3. (3) Customs clearance procedures should be facilitated (e.g. increasing the number of customs officers for speedy customs clearance) and costs that potentially hinder export volumes should be reduced.
  4. (4) Requirements for issue and renewal of work permits as well as residence permits should be eased, and procedures should be simplified (e.g., the mandatory requirement to employ at least five Turkish workers for every foreigner requesting issuance of a work permit should be eased. Allowing residence registration in the neighbouring province (iller), different from the province where work permits are issued.).
  5. (5) A sufficient time of notice should be designated prior to the newly introduced regulations and institutions, and public comments and consultations should be conducted in advance.
  6. (6) The RUSF (Resource Utilization Support Fund, or KKDF in Turkish) should be abolished.
  7. (7) Additional tariffs (İlave Gümrük Vergisi in Turkish) should be abolished, preferably prior to the conclusion of EPA.
  8. (8) Intellectual property should be more effectively protected and Anti-Illicit Trade should be promoted by introducing more stringent regulations and penalties relating to counterfeit products.
  9. (9) Strengthen the stability of exchange rate and exchange rate neutral tax policies should be implemented (tax calculation in foreign currency should be allowed).
  10. (10) Some of the current regulations that create difficulties for companies should be lifted (Financial expense restriction, limitation of buying hard currency, the obligation to make payments in Turkish Lira among Turkish residents, etc.).

Regional Affairs