In NYC,helping Investors from Turkic Lands

The Turkic American Chamber of Commerce (TACC) — not to be confused with the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce and Industry — was founded two years ago in New York City, as a self-supporting, non-profit, umbrella organization by the Chambers of Commerce from 15 Turkic nations. Unlike its much larger cousin, TACC serves not only the vibrant Turkish business community, but also business interests from Central Asian countries like Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, in order to facilitate commerce between the U.S. and Turkic countries and to establish partnerships between Turkic and American business people.

In its short existence, the New York City-based foundation has already logged many successes and supplied thousands of people with consulting services. Thanks to TACC’s efforts, nearly 150 Turkic businesses have invested in the U.S. to the tune of $250 million and President Celil Yaka of TACC is predicting that partnerships will grow 10% over the next year.

Yaka said that TACC, which has 16 branches in the U.S. and Canada, is a bridge linking the U.S. with Turkic countries. He explained that TACC aims to offer opportunities to investors and business people by holding workshops that give information about investment opportunities and explain the landscape of American business to Central Asian investors. The organization also provides information to American businesses interested in exploring opportunities in Central Asia.

“We have been a resource for Turkic investors,” said Yaka. “Before TACC existed, businesses were seeking associations to help them. We have extended this network between Turkic countries and the U.S. We are giving them as much information as we can about this country…We have been working here since 2010 [Editor’s note: before the formal founding of TACC] to reach investors. TACC now has 5000 members around the world.”

Businessman Ayhan Atalay, a builder from Turkey, decided to make an investment in the U.S. after a business trip to the U.S. sponsored by TACC. Said Atalay: “I’m planning to invest in the construction sector in New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia. Investment in America is very important and there is a huge market but we should be patient. Because there are many U.S. regulations, everything doesn’t happen in a short time. Investing and getting results takes a lot of time.”

Atalay is also encouraging other Turkish investors to be more interested in the U.S. market.

Business people coming from Turkey and Central Asia may be entering a new environment, and TACC’s efforts give them support and comfort. They also find they are entering a market where a growing number of Turkish professionals work and live. Direct investment in the U.S. by Turkish investors and businesses has grown from $41 million in 2011 to more than $300 million in 2014, according to the Central Bank of Turkey.

Investor Namık Hüseyinoğlu has business interests in Turkey as well as Azerbaijan,where he owns transportation and other businesses in Baku. He has also invested widely around the world, and got advice and assistance from TACC when he approached the U.S. market. He has invested in transportation in the U.S. and now garners revenue of $5 million from that investment.

His goal is to expand in the import-export business around the world, focusing on a variety of products. Hüseyinoğlu, who imported halal meat from South America to North America, complains about the bureaucracy, adding that, “to start a company in America, you have to wait patiently.”

Hüseyinoğlu says a foundation like TACC, which works to smooth the way for others to enter the U.S. market, can make a big difference in ensuring long-term success.