Royal FloraHolland expects that the Turkish import duties on plants and flowers will go down dramatically within the next twelve months. It would create great opportunities for exports to Turkey and the countries beyond.
This was the topic of discussion during a meeting, organised by FloraHolland, on 28 June in Aalsmeer. The theme was: Turkey, ignore or invest? FloraHolland is currently developing two horticultural areas in Turkey, together with local horticultural organisations and the Turkish government. Monique Heemskerk, manager Turkey-Asia, expects that is considered to be a significant contribution and that it will help reduce the import duties on plants and flowers in the near future.
The import duty on cut flowers is currently 48.6%. The goal is to halve this. The import duty on flowering plants is 28.4% and the aim is for this to become 0%. The import duty on green plants is 4%.
There’s an agreement with the branch organisations that these changes will be implemented over the next twelve months. FloraHolland’s CEO, Lucas Vos, is meeting the Turkish minister of agriculture in October. At the same time, there’s an ongoing lobby in Brussels to drop the import duties, but that could take seven to eight years according to Heemskerk.
FloraHolland has been active in Turkey for 2.5 years now, with the aim to expand their members’ and customers’ exports to Turkey. At the moment, they’re also investigating if they can facilitate exports of their Kenyan members to Turkey.
Turkey has 80 million inhabitants. The population is relatively young and consumer spendings are rapidly going up each year. There isn’t a strong place for plants and flowers in the Turkish culture, but young people are showing more and more interest. And the government has great ambitions with regards to horticulture. That’s interesting for suppliers, such as breeders and greenhouse builders.
Turkey can also serve as a highway to other countries in Asia and Africa. 25% of the world’s population lives within a four-hour flight from Turkey. FloraHolland’s Turkey-Asia team sees many opportunities for its members’ plants and flowers in places like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Russia, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Selim Oktar, of the Turkey-Asia team, says that the recent tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands have no impact on the development of FloraHolland’s ambitions. “Political relations between countries always have their ups and downs, but we look at trading with Turkey from a long-term perspective.” There are of course some problems between the countries with regards to politics, but when it comes to trade, Turkey loves the Netherlands.” The Netherlands is Turkey’s largest trading partner.