Toespraak

27-04-2015

Memorandum of Understanding diamond sector

Istanbul, April, 27th, 2015


- - - the spoken word alone prevails - - -

 

[Introduction]

 

Ekselanslari,

Baylar ve Hanimefendiler,

Her seyden önce, Belçika Savunma Bakani ve Basbakan Yardimcisi olarak daha önce birkaç kez ziyaret ettigim bu güzel sehirde bulunmanin, benim için büyük bir mutluluk oldugunu söylemek istiyorum. Bununla beraber, Belçika'nin Dis Ticaretinden sorumlu olarak, Belçika Federal Hükümetindeki simdiki konumumda Türkiye'ye ilk ziyaretimdir. Her ziyarette bize gösterilen misafirperverlik için herkese tesekkür ederim.

Tabii ki, bu misafirperverlik karsilikli, bizler de Türk kuyumcular heyetinin Mayis basinda Antwerp elmas sektörüne ziyaretini sabirsizlikla bekliyoruz.

 

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to say that it is an absolute pleasure for me to be here in this beautiful city, which I visited several times as Belgian Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister. However, it is for the first time that I visit Turkey in my current position within the Belgian Federal Government, making me responsible for Belgium’s Foreign Trade. I thank you all for the hospitality bestowed on us at each visit. Of course, this hospitality is mutual and we are very much looking forward to the visit of a delegation of Turkish jewellers early May to the diamond sector in Antwerp.

 

[Antwerp, the diamond capital of the world]

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

More than five hundred years ago, merchants ships arrived in Antwerp and unloaded crates full of precious and somewhat rare goods from exotic destinations far away. Merchants sold their diamonds in Antwerp because they knew they would fetch the best prices for their goods. Five centuries later, the same trade pattern persists. Merchants ships have been replaced by airplanes and secured road transport, but Antwerp is still the most active and competitive diamond market in the world. 84 % of all rough diamonds and 50 % of all polished diamonds are traded in Antwerp. Approximately 1.700 companies are officially registered as diamond traders. Last year, the total diamond trade increased to a staggering 58 billion US dollar. On a daily basis, about 600 shipments of diamonds, worth 260 million US dollar are being manually inspected and controlled by eighteen accredit diamond experts under the authority of the Belgian Federal Public Services Economy and Finances in the Antwerp World Diamond Centre’s Office. Four logistics forwarding companies and the same number of secured transport providers organize the transport of these shipments, mainly from the Antwerp diamond ‘square mile’ to the airport and back. 6.600 people are directly employed in the Antwerp diamond industry, 26.000 additional jobs are generated due to indirect effects. The four largest diamond mining companies have an office in Antwerp, half of them even sells its entire production exclusively in Antwerp. Furthermore, six specialized diamonds banks are offering tailor-made financial services to the Antwerp diamond industry.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

These are just a few facts and figures to make it clear that Antwerp truly is the diamond capital of the world and thus is the place to be to trade in diamonds.

 

[Diamonds and Turkey]

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we all know, Istanbul’s strategic position makes it since time immemorial a city of enormous importance and a bridge between cultures, peoples, and continents. Furthermore, Turkey is also a rising economic powerhouse. This includes the jewellery market, which figures are very impressive. This was proven yet again by the success of the Istanbul Jewellery Show which took place last March, gathering no less than 1.250 exhibitors and attracting 26.000 visitors from 111 countries. The Turkish internal consumption is estimated at approximately 235 million US dollar, and market analysts are forecasting a steady growth over the upcoming years. Even more important is the amount of Turkish-made jewellery that is being exported. Ladies and Gentlemen, Turkey exports 2,2 billion US dollar worth of jewels on an annual basis. Let me be clear: this is huge.

 

However, despite these impressive figures, the direct trade between Antwerp and Turkey is rather modest and I firmly believe that we can increase these trade flows. Last year, we exported a little bit more than 11,000 carats of polished diamonds to Turkey, worth 20 million US dollar. So I believe that there is room for improvement. Indeed, the Turkish diamond and jewellery industry is quite complementary to what we do in Belgium. Your country is one of the world’s largest jewellery manufacturers, and a major importer of polished diamonds. Antwerp is the trading platform for rough and polished diamonds. As I mentioned  before, 1.700 registered diamond companies are able to provide the best quantity and quality of rough and polished diamonds to the market.

 

[Conclusion]

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I am confident that the Memorandum of Understanding that will be signed in a few minutes, will bring Turkish and Belgian companies and organizations closer to each other. It is an important stepping stone towards a long-lasting and sustainable business partnership that will prove to be as durable as diamonds.

 

I thank you all for your attention and wish you all the best in your current and future undertakings.

Ilginiz için hepinize tesekkür eder, mevcut ve gelecekteki girisimler için en iyi dileklerimi iletirim.

 

- - - the spoken word alone prevails - - -


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