Turkish home, kitchenware exporters set sights on Gulf markets

Already a major force in Europe, Türkiye’s home and kitchenware companies are working to diversify their export markets by gaining a foothold in Gulf countries, according to a top sector official.

Currently, some 60% of the Turkish sector’s exports are to Europe but recession signals in the EU have increased the need for diversification, with Gulf and African nations being particularly promising avenues, said Mesut Oksuz, head of the Turkish Houseware Association (Zucder).

He said there is significant potential to expand bilateral trade between Türkiye and Saudi Arabia as the lifting of trade curbs offers a great advantage to Turkish exporters.

Companies from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar participated in Zucder’s International Brand and Manufacturer Meeting in May, where they signed important agreements with Turkish firms, Oksuz told Anadolu.

“We will soon have a sectoral trade delegation trip to Saudi Arabia, which is of great importance for our industry and offers immense opportunity,” he said.

Major buyers from Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman will also be there for an event from Oct. 31 toNov. 3, he added.

“Our aim is to bring together our manufacturers with wholesale and retail companies and chain stores operating in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries,” he said.

On President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s high-profile tour of Gulf countries this July, he was accompanied by top Turkish business officials, who signed 26 agreements in three countries – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

$7B export target

Oksuz said the Turkish home and kitchenware sector’s exports reached $6.12 billion in 2022 and imports stood at $1.47 billion – a net surplus of $4.65 billion.

The price of export per kilogram in the sector rose 13.8% over the past five years to $3.95 in 2022, he said.

The main export destinations are the UK, Germany, Italy and France, he said, adding that aim is to take up exports to $7 billion this year.

Oksuz said China, where manufacturing costs are 30-40% lower than Türkiye, has been putting pressure on prices to regain its position in export markets.

“Still, though, companies importing from China are looking for alternative countries, and we are also getting our share from this search,” he added.

Turkish manufacturers have a strong position in the global home and kitchenware sector, particularly in terms of product quality and service, he asserted.

“Today, ‘Made in Türkiye’ has become a preference in many markets,” said Oksuz.

About the 33rd International Home and Kitchenwares Fair held in Istanbul this week, he said the event generated business worth $2 billion.

There was great participation by buyers from the US, while interest from nearby markets was also high, he added.