PRESIDENT OF TÜMMER (Turkish Marble, Natural Stone and Machinery Manufacturers Association)
Our exports of marble and natural stone have been experiencing an upward trend for the first time since 2014, therefore, the manufacturer is more optimistic about the future. Our exports of marble were USD 1,8 billion in 2016 and USD 2 billion as of the end of 2017. I believe that this increase has been a step in the opening of the sector with the directives of Berat Albayrak, our Energy and Natural Resources Inspection Company, while the endeavors of our entrepreneurs and investors have been realized. This increase is resulted from the efforts of our entrepreneurs and investors, but I also believe that this is the step after the directives of Berat Albayrak, our Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.
As far as we can observe, our colleagues are undergoing a good preparation period knowing that the bottleneck in the legislation has been mitigated by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and taking advantage of the dry winter months.
As a result, you can say, “Well, there’s no reason for us to have an unsuccessful season.” Actually, I thought so. In fact, I thought that, if everything went well, our exports of marble and natural stone in 2018 would exceed $ 2,5 billion. I still think so? We should also not consider that some negative developments, which may be internal or external, may affect our ideas negatively. Because we still have a chance to encounter some mishaps again.
The mishaps do not end so easily. That some institutions are not able to understand us is one of our problems, but the shrinkage resulted from the negative developments in our market will further concern us in the future. In addition, we will have to deal with unconscious production and the ever-present unconsciousness in sales policies. And we will have to struggle with the UNFAIR COMPETITION which is created by unethical behavior.
As we know, we are in a position to insist on devaluing Turkish marble and natural stone in this part of the continent because of selling our products in the US market with underestimated values for years. The fact that this country is the second largest market, and even the first one in the sale of processed marble, shows the severity of the situation more strongly.
Our situation in the Middle East, which is a very important market, simply tragicomic. Our special stones produced with great effort have become cheap because of the huge numbers of people who try to “start marketing” them. However precious the stones, they may not be produced due to the decline in the prices after a while.
This problem which is caused by irresponsible people in every sector can definitely be prevented by sales policies that the public and private sector can develop together. In other words, the policies that re developed by MİGEM (General Directorate of Mining Affairs) and the sector representatives. In other words, managers and experts from MİGEM, TÜMMER, İMİB (Istanbul Mining Exporters’ Association) and EİB (Aegean Exporters’ Association) should come together to find ways to solve the problem.
When it comes to the CHINA market, which is formed by merchants who want our products to be sold at right prices as much as we do, we can say:
In December 2016, the Chinese High Judicial Ordinances announced that the provisions of the law should be interpreted in such a way as to give penal sanctions to those who cause environmental pollution;
Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on November 11th in Vietnam in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Organization (APEC) – Leaders’ Union of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Dialogue, and said that China will be prepared in ecological protection, green-low carbon and sustainable development, and stated: “We will bring the strictest environmental protection regulations possible.”
The emphasis on environmental issues besides many social messages in the 2018 New Year’s statement has a huge impact in all the provinces in China, and the industrial sectors that cause air pollution in industrial areas have been subjected to very serious sanctions and many production facilities have been closed.
Iron, steel and chemical industry are at the main ones of these sectors. When we look at the last two years, Chinese importers have been emphasizing on the increasing environmental controls, and stating that many of workplaces have been closed and their production licenses have been canceled especially in the last quarter of 2017.
In general, among Tianjin, Yunfu and Shuitou, which are the biggest 3 marble market in China, the production has come to a standstill in Tianjin and Yunfu, because of the fact that they are close to Beijing and Guangzhou, respectively.
However, the marble factories in Beijing, one of the cities with the worst pollution in the world, had been demolished in recent years and moved to Tianjin Zone. That is why the factories here have been able to have a faultless and modern facility. Nevertheless, firms cannot maintain their production since they are experiencing a license problem because of new developments in environmental policy and it is suggested that even licensed companies are prevented from producing.
These developments can be interpreted that the natural stone exporting rate to China from our country may slow down in the short and medium terms.
In this case, our producers and exporters have important tasks: we should not lower our prices. If necessary, shorten our production, let’s export less, but let’s not decrease the value that Turkish stone deserves in the world market. Because we know from experience in world markets that it is easy to lower prices, but it is not easy to raise that price to a level close to its value again.
As always, the fair traffic starts to intensify with the new year. Our colleagues returning from the United State in late January, went to India immediately. Our friends who returned from India in the middle of February are now preparing for China. Shortly after that, İzmir marble fair, which is our biggest fair, will start. We expect our colleagues to turn all the negativities into positive alternatives.
Despite all of this, our goal is not to achieve $ 2,5 billion worth of marble exports this year, but to realize more than it. Right pricing can play an important role in this increase.
Enjoy the fair.