Chemicals industry promises strong reactions

Turkish chemical manufacturers have ever-increasing production and export potential in cosmetics, medicines, paints, medical devices and equipment.

The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Greeks knew how to extract paints from plants, to dye fabrics, and to produce glass and soap. Each one is a branch of chemistry, but such efforts were really considered artisanal work then. The present products of the chemistry industry are incomprehensibly diverse, and Türkiye is a leading country in this industry. Türkiye hosts the most cherished values of the common legacy of mankind with its history, natural environment, culture and cuisine. But the country holds much more than that. Türkiye has become one of the most crucial players of the international trade with its advance in exports in the last 20 years. The country exports thousands of kinds of products every year to 250 countries around the globe thanks to the quality and reliability it offers.

Cosmetics from the Ottomans to present day

The cosmetics and scented soaps of Turkish baths have been produced since the days of the Ottoman Empire. Soap and cologne were in high demand during the Ottoman period. The republic era witnessed the establishment of small enterprises managed by chemists. The first Turkish deodorant and after-shave production began in the 1970s, followed by exports and branding. Turkish chemical manufacturers now enjoy an ever-increasing production and export potential not only in cosmetics, but also in medicines, paints, medical devices and equipment. In total, the Turkish chemicals industry exported 17.3 million tonnes of products, earning $15.5 billion in 2015, giving the industry the third largest share of Türkiye’s exports. The biggest export markets of the industry in 2015 were Egypt, Iraq, and Germany.

From plastics to cosmetics, and from medicine to paints, 30 per cent of the chemical industry’s products reach the consumers, whereas the rest is used as intermediate goods or raw materials in other industries such as the textiles, electrical goods, metals, mineral products, construction, automotive, paper products, and service industries.

Türkiye is prominent in composites, a significant field in the chemicals industry, and particularly in aerospace. Composites, which are used as an input in more than 10 different industries, are considered the materials of the future. The volume of the Turkish composite materials industry is 245,000 tons.

Globally, the chemicals industry is considered a key indicator of economic trends, as many of its products are used in the early phases of production. As the crucial components of modern life, these chemicals play a critical role in every field imaginable, from food products, supplying clean water, clothing, housing, health, transportation, and technology.

The importance of R&D

R&D and sustainability are some of the most significant challenges and opportunities for this industry. Turkish chemical manufacturers have advanced a long way in terms of research and development activities. The Turkish chemicals industry plays also a leading role in sustainability, production standards and environmental compliance. The Turkish chemicals industry has a rich potential for sub-product groups. The product group with the highest exports in 2015 was plastic and plastic products with a total exports earning of $5.35 billion, followed by inorganic chemicals, and rubber and rubber products. With its advantages of natural resources, foreign trade skills, proximity to present and potential markets, qualified manpower, and logistics benefits, the main goal of the Turkish chemicals industry is to contribute $50 billion to Türkiye’s 2023 exports target of $500 billion.