With the pandemıc, those who had difficulties in supplying from China turned their investment route to Turkey. İzmir Free Zone (İZBAŞ), which has 187 licensed companies, 5 thousand 300 employees and a trade volume of 1 billion 250 billion dollars, has also become one of the regions where investors show great interest. In the last 3 years, the number of investments realized in İZBAŞ with domestic and foreign partnerships has increased. We talked to İZBAŞ Chairman of the Board of Directors, Eyüp Sevimli, about the latest developments in the region, as well as the situation of the Menemen Free Zone, which became a legal entity with the Presidential Decision published in the Official Gazette dated October 30, 2022.
EVERY YEAR WE HAVE GROWED 50-60 PERCENT
Describing the transformation İZBAŞ has experienced in the last 5 years, Mr. Sevimli reminded that the area was established as a leather free zone, but it turned into a mixed structure in the process. Expressing that there are 187 companies in the region that have obtained licenses, Eyüp Sevimli said, "We have grown by 50-60 percent in trade volume in the last 5 years, and we have come to these days. Our trade volume has increased from 170 million to 1 billion 250 million dollars. We have achieved significant growth. This result was born when investments increased. This will continue to increase. About 5,300 people work. This will go towards 6,000. I think that we will see 6 thousand 500-7 thousand people in employment together with new investments. “Five years ago, the number of employees was around thousands.”
THEY PREFER TURKEY
Stating that the occupancy rate in İZBAŞ has reached 90 percent, Mr. Sevimli shared that you are trying to create areas for investment, and continued as follows: “We have an area of close to 100 thousand square meters. Investor appetite is very high right now. In the past, 3 investors were coming, 1 of which was turning into an investment. Currently, 2 out of 10 investors are investing. The remaining 8 do not give up on investment, either go to other regions or decide on us later on. With the pandemic, especially Europe is experiencing difficulties in supplies originating from China. Therefore, the interest of investors in Turkey is great. We also feel this intensely. There are investments from many sectors, from automotive to pharmaceuticals, from chemistry to food. Foreign investors are making these investments together with domestic partners.”
NO TWO FREE ZONES JOIN SIDE
Expressing that they have been working on the growth area of the Izmir Free Zone for two years, with the increasing demand of the INVESTOR, Eyüp Sevimli said, “Here, too, we set out with all the relevant institutions, from the municipality to the ministry. As a result of these efforts, the area that we envisaged as a growth area became a legal entity with the Presidential Decision published in the Official Gazette dated October 30, 2022. The logic of a second free zone is not very accurate. There is no other example where two free zones are side by side. The need for growth area started with the demand from companies that have investments in İZBAŞ. But if a second free zone is established here, it is not feasible for the company that produces in İZBAŞ to invest in this second zone as well. As a result, free zones are bonded zones,” he said.
WE SEE IT AS AN EXPANSION FIELD
Expressing that they see the Menemen Free Zone as the expansion area of İZBAŞ, Eyüp Sevimli continued his words as follows:
“We are making all our plans to bring this land of 1 million 500 thousand square meters, which is our border neighbor, to the economy of İzmir. Hopefully, in 2023, we will bring a planned free zone worthy of the 100th anniversary of our Republic to our country and our city. As İZBAŞ, our treatment plant, electricity and natural gas infrastructure is ready. We are 15 minutes away from the Northern İzmir Motorway and half an hour away from İzmir center. We are 30 kilometers from Aliağa Nemrut Port and İzmir Alsancak Port. However, there is another feature that is at least as important as these. We have an error-free system, a strong structure and service staff consisting of professionals who can best understand the demands and expectations of our investors and produce proactive solutions quickly. We can build an expansion area with the concept of 'plug&play', of which there are many examples abroad, and put it at the disposal of our industrialists. We wish to give these good news to all our export-oriented industrialists in the 100th anniversary of our Republic.”
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