Your Turkey agent, distributor or wholesaler: how to find the best one?

Container ship Istanbul

Turkey: connecting Europe and Asia

With almost 83 million people and a rapid development Turkey is an interesting market to look for business opportunities. The country strategically located on both the Europe and Asian continent, has a modest climate, relative political stability and a developing middle class.

How to find your agent or distributor?

Although Ankara is the capital, Istanbul is the center for commerce. Most major organisations have their headquarters there. For services and industrial products this can be a good place to start with quite some coverage. From there you can approach second tier and smaller cities.

Finding an agent or distributor requires good knowledge of the Turkish language and a good understanding of the culture. Without this it will be difficult to get access to the market.

Alliance experts can find the right agent or distributor within 6 to 8 weeks

Alliance experts helps companies with entering new markets profitably. Our Istanbul-based specialists can find you the right agents or distributors, approaching companies in Turkish and where possible paying them a visit.

We have a clear and structured approach to find the best partner

We first want to know what kind of partner you are looking for. Based on your information, we make a long-list of 15-20 potential partners that fit your description. After your approval we find the right decision maker, approach him or her personally and share your business profile with them. This mostly leads to 3-5 companies who are suitable as your partner and interested in working with you. Once we have found these companies, we plan your meetings and accompany you during the first visits.

What do we know about Turkish consumers?

Turkey consists of 76 million consumers of mostly Turkish, some Kurdish and a few from smaller minority ethnic group descend. The nation’s latest Gini Index recorded in 2018 was 41.9, with ‘0’ representing perfect income equality and ‘100’ representing complete income disparity.

75.63% of Turkey is currently urbanised, while the country boasts of an economy that’s getting a prosperous push from its emerging middle-class entrepreneurs. Turkey’s economic landscape is rapidly moving out of the traditional agricultural and textile based export scenario to a more construction, automotive and electronics focused one.

Turkey’s most developed and active business cities are Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir. Added to these, are the Anatolian cities or ‘tigers’ of Denizli, Gaziantep, Kayseri, Bursa, Kocaeli and Kahramanmaras that hold immense economic potential.

What do people import to Turkey?

The estimated value of Turkey’s total exports during the year 2014 was US$232.5 billion. The product categories exported included:

  • Machinery
  • Chemicals
  • Semi-finished goods
  • Fuels
  • Transport equipment

Which are Turkey’s most favourite import partners?

  • Russia (7.91%)
  • China (9.53%)
  • Germany (11%)
  • US (5.28%)
  • Italy (5.14%)
  • Iran (4.97%)

What are Turkey’s import regulations?

Istanbul Ataturk Airport is Turkey’s biggest and busiest airport in terms of passenger and cargo traffic. Most sea freight comes in through Istanbul and Mersin. Turkey is a free market zone. Its system follows basic WTO rules for the regulation of imports and tariff structures. Turkey has signed a deal with the EU that eradicates duties and charges on all goods imported from the region. In fact, this country has signed free trade agreements with several nations including some developing ones.

What are Turkey’s import tariffs and taxes?

Within the free trade zones, goods can be imported free of duty, assembled, manufactured, stored, repackaged, and re-exported with no tariffs.

Otherwise, Turkey utilises the Harmonized Coding System and the Combined Nomenclature of the European Union, with relation to the Custom’s Union. Duties are based on cost, insurance and freight as a percentage of the landed value of the goods.

VAT is charged at 18% for normal goods or 26% for luxury items.

Some items requiring special permissions:

  • Live animals
  • Medicines and pharmaceuticals
  • Food and plant products
  • Organic chemicals
  • Telecommunications equipment
  • Ozone depleting substances

Distribution and Sales in Turkey

Due to Turkey’s unique market complexities, it is recommended that one uses a combination of distribution methods according to the segment being tapped. In order to reach a geographically disperse market it is beneficial to use a local distributor in Turkey as they are affordable and effective. If you wish to tap the local traditional or wholesale market, a local distributor is even more beneficial due to the personal connection. For a more complicated or technical product, however, direct presence of the importer is recommended.

Hence, Turkey with its free trade attitude is an encouraging and motivating economy to be associated with.

What should you know about Turkish business culture?

If you are familiar with the Middle Eastern business culture then Turkey’s way of conducting business will not seem that new to you. This is due to the common Islamic culture that offers priority to personal relationships over professional ones. It is, therefore, important to win a Turk’s trust and confidence before you proceed to discuss any business related matter.

In this part of the world, social events are just as important as business meetings. A social event may actually be the environment in which your Turkish business associate decides whether he or she wishes to conduct business with you.

Their favourite topics of social conversation are family, countries and sports.

What are the right negotiation tactics in Turkey?

In Turkey, business is done in an open and friendly manner with a touch of informality. The following simple guidelines will help:

  • Make appointments and stick to them
  • Expect your initial meetings to be social in nature
  • Print out your material in English and Turkish
  • Be thoroughly prepared with your presentation, support with data and visual aid
  • Be honest and transparent. A Turk needs to trust you to do business with you
  • Aim for a mutually beneficial proposal
  • Prepare for a delayed decision-making process

What is a contract worth in Turkey?

Contract law in Turkey is comprehensive and is applicable both on paper and the spoken word.

A legal contract is a very valuable legal document in Turkey and is to be taken seriously. In Turkey, contracts are analysed carefully before agreements are reached and signed. They are thorough, clear and advantageous to both parties involved.

The Turkey Centre for international commercial arbitration offers a wide range of services to arbitrate a business contract or trade disputes, efficiently and fairly. This can be a good alternative to litigation in case this proves necessary.

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