Today, we are living in highly competitive world where financial frontiers have been removed. We need to cooperate with each other closely in order to able to stand firm and survive in this highly competitive business environment. It is certain that strong cooperation is the key to a strong economy which, in turn, makes a country robust. For that reason, we need to develop trade centers that could bring private and public sectors together across the world and help young entrepreneurs wake up to new, vast horizons.
Developed and built on the basis of this specific objective by a group of public and non-governmental organizations, the World Trade Center Istanbul, will play an important role on a global scale in the economic development of our city and country. The number of WTCA-member World Trade Centers, operating in nearly 100 countries across the world, has grown to 300. These trade centers, built with the intention of encouraging domestic business activities, offer immense business opportunities to entrepreneurs and contribute to the improvement of relations among countries.
The high level of the economic performance achieved by our country is envied by many other countries around the world and is further improving with each passing day. Turkey is a country with high ambitions, aiming to grow its exports to USD 500 billion by 2023 and rank among the 10 largest economies in the world. The country's efforts to this end have helped Istanbul become one of the world's fastest growing cities.
The fact that the city has been hosting many events of international scale in all the different areas, ranging from sports to art and from culture to commerce, is the most important indicator of this robust growth. We have also made significant strides in hosting international congress tourism.
Besides all this, we are still developing projects and making rigorous investments with the aim of transforming the city into a center for international finance and commerce. World Trade Center Istanbul is a product of this approach, and dedicated to making Istanbul the world's capital city for trade fairs. At the end of the day, the city hosts nearly 100 international trade fairs a year.
With its highly productive projects, World Trade Center Istanbul has been playing a significant role in accelerating Turkey's integration into global commerce and in giving momentum to the development of the country's trade fair industry. The Center has also launched a range of noteworthy projects, stimulating growth in the foreign trade figures of both Turkey and Istanbul and helping improve the existing business relations between domestic and international companies and investors. Based on all this, the Center has gained considerable international recognition.
I strongly believe that our Trade and Exhibition Center, keeping itself up to date with the latest developments and technology, will maintain its productive approach towards serving the needs of domestic and international organizations.
President of Istanbul Chamber of Commerce
Chairman, World Trade Center Istanbul