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FREE ZONE CONCEPT IN TURKEY

30th September 2016

FREE ZONE CONCEPT IN TURKEY
Free zones are defined as special sites within the country but deemed to be outside of the customs borders and they are the regions where the valid regulations to foreign trade and other financial and economic laws are not applicable.

CRITERIA IN ESTABLISHING A FREE ZONE
• Transport facilities, adjacency to ports and trade roads,
• Commercial and industrial infrastructure available in the city,
• Availability of production elements like raw material, skilled labour, electricity - fresh water etc.,
• Physical features of the territory to establish the free zone and the possibility of physical expansion area,
• Financial model to be applied in investment and operation phases,
• Modern infrastructure facilities,
• Availability of potential markets

OBJECTIVES
• to promote export oriented investment and production
• to promote FDI and joint ventures
• to provide easy access to stocks of raw materials and equipment on favorable terms
• to promote international finance and trade possibilities
• to increase technology transfer
• to accelerate the integration with the world economy
• to create a favorable environment for research and development

FREE ZONE TYPES
Semi-Private Free Zones
The land is owned by state and the main company can rent places and operate in the zone
Private Free Zones
The land is owned by the operator company and along with the operation of the zone, Operator Company can rent/sell places to its investors

OPERATION TYPES
• Production
• Assembly-disassambly
• Trade
• Services (logistics etc.)

ADVANTAGES OF FREE ZONE’s
100% exemption from customs duties and other assorted duties.
100% exemption from corporate income tax for manufacturing companies.
100% exemption from value-added tax (VAT) and special consumption tax.
100% exemption from stamp duty for applicable documents.
100% exemption from income tax on employees’ wages (for companies that export at least 85% of the FOB value of the goods they produce in the free zones).
Goods can remain in free zones for an unlimited period.
Companies are free to transfer profits from free zones to abroad as well as to Turkey, without restrictions.

FREE ZONES’ CONTRIBUTIONS TO TURKISH ECONOMY
• Total trade volume in Turkish free zones, has reached to 200 billion US Dollars since their establishment
• 50.640 direct employment has been reached
• 3.619 user companies are operating from which 638 are foreign companies.
• A very important amount of technological transfer has been realized through the investments made.
• There is a contribution in training qualified personnel needed in our country.
• There is a serious external benefit in input of foreign capital by acting like a pre-laboratory for eventual investments in the country.
• Created an important sub-industrial potential within the neighbor cities and the other zones with dense trade relations.
• Positive benefit created in the area of the free zones, has an important contribution in modern urbanization process, and free zones have assumed a key role in healthy and planned urbanization.
• In means of public finances, there is an amount of approximately 770 million US Dollars of Fund Incomes and social insurance premium transferred to Public.
• Free Zones’ Founder and Operator Companies have assumed the duty of State as they work as a kind of investment agency in presentation of the zones to foreigner investors in attracting the investments.
• All these indications prove, that positive factors are heavily overbearing in benefit/cost analysis about free zones.



BENEFIT OF FREE ZONE IN TURKEY

1. Opportunity to Benefit from Tax Advantages for Manufacturer Users
• Until the end of the taxation year including the date Turkey becomes a full member of the European Union, the earnings of the manufacturer users, generated through the sales of the goods they produced in the free zones, are exempted from the income or corporate taxes.
• The wages of the workers employed by the users that export at least 85 percent of the FOB value of the goods they produce in the free zones are exempted from income tax. The Council of Ministers can reduce this rate to 50 percent.
• The transactions and arranged documents related to the activities carried out in the zones by the manufacturer users are exempt from stamp duties and fees.
The free zone users that obtained “operating license” other than “production” before 06/02/2004, the income or corporate tax exemption continues during the validity period of the Operating License.
The free zone users that obtained operating license other than production after 06/02/2004 do not enjoy income or corporate tax exemption.

2. Opportunity of Medium and Long Term Planning
The validity period of an operating license:
• 15 years for tenant users.
• 20 years for manufacturer tenant users.
• 30 years for users who build their own working premises (investor users).
• 45 years for manufacturer-investor users.
Building plots and buildings on Treasury owned land can be leased or granted easement until 49 years for the investor users.

3. Opportunity to Transfer Profits
The revenue and earnings from free zone activities can be freely transferred to Turkey or abroad without any permission.

4. Facilitation of Foreign Trade
Since the goods sold from Turkey to free zones are subject to export regime, free zone users can buy goods and services from Turkey without paying value added tax. On the other hand, trade between free zones and third countries is not subject to foreign trade regime.
Moreover, upon request, goods of Turkish origin in value less than 5000 US $ or its equivalent in Turkish Lira can be exempted from export procedures.

5. Trade Facility Free from Customs Duty Procedure
The goods in free circulation can be sent to Turkey or to the EU countries from the free zones without any customs duty payment. Moreover, no customs duty is applied on the goods of third country origin at the entrance into the free zones and exit to the third countries.

6. Easy Access to EU Countries
Since free zones are part of the Turkey-EU Customs Territory, the goods in free circulation can be sent to the EU Countries by an A.TR certificate. Customs duties for the goods of third country origin are also not paid at the entry into the free zones. However, the goods of third country origin that are not in free circulation can be sent to the EU countries by an A.TR certificate, only after the customs duties are paid over the rates determined in the Common Customs Tariff.

7. Equal Treatment
The incentives and advantages provided in the free zones are available to all firms regardless of their origin.

8. No Time Limitation
The goods can remain in the zones without any time limit.

9. Managing Trade Activities According to Market Demands and Conditions
In the Turkish Free Zones, unless the manufacturers demand, any authority regarding prices, quality and standards granted to public institutions and agencies by laws or by other legislation is not valid. Also legislative provisions pertaining to customs and foreign exchange obligations are not applicable in the zones.

10. Inflation Accounting Opportunity
Every payment in the Turkish Free Zones is done with Convertible Currencies.

11. Access to Domestic and Foreign Markets
In contrast to most of the free zones in the world, sales to the domestic market with the exception of consumer and risky products are allowed.

12. Reduced Bureaucratic Procedures and Dynamic Management
During application and operation process bureaucracy is minimized. Professional private sector companies manage free zones.

13. Strategic Location
Turkish Free Zones are close to the EU and Middle East Markets, adjacent to the major Turkish Ports on the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea and have easy access to international airports and highways.

14. Competitive Infrastructure Standards
Infrastructure of the Turkish Free Zones is competitive with international standards.

15. Supply Chain Management
Turkish Free Zones, particularly for the companies which manufacture for export, offer supply chain management opportunities in providing intermediate and raw materials.

FREE ZONES IN TURKEY
Adana-Yumurtalık Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Antalya Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Avrupa Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Bursa Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Denizli Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Ege Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Gaziantep Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
İstanbul Atatürk Havalimanı Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
İstanbul Endüstri ve Ticaret Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
İstanbul Trakya Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
İzmir Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Kayseri Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Kocaeli Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Mardin Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Mersin Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Rize Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Samsun Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Trabzon Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü
Tübitak Mam Teknoloji Serbest Bölge Müdürlüğü

HOW TO OPERATE IN FREE ZONES
Getting an Operating License & Establishing a Company from Ministry of Economy, Directorate General of Free Zones
Approximate time: 1-2 weeks (after submitting the file)
Necessary documents for the application file:
• Descriptive information about the Applicant and its Free Zone operation,
• Authorization document and specimen signature of the signatory and power of attorney and specimen signature of the representative of the firm (if any), for the branch openings additionaly signature circular of the headquarter company.
• Trade Registration Document of the company located abroad
• Last three years’ balance sheets and income statements (if any),
• The original receipt of application fee (5000$) deposited to the Central Bank of Turkey and its copy,
• Operation License Form (after filled and signed properly) and a copy
• The HS codes (12 digits with explanations) of the materials which will be purchased and sold at free zone (on a seperate paper)
• Two original copies of Article of Association Draft of the company intended to be established. (signed by all associates) For branch openings it is not necessary.
• Production follow schema explaining the production
2) Trade Registration
(may prefere to establish a new company in free zone or they can open a free zone branch of their existing company’s in abroad)
Approximate time : new company :1 day (after submitting all documents) for
branch openings: 1 week to get the approval of ministry
3) Sign a rental contract with the Founder/Operator Company
4) Getting Operating License
From : GDFZ
Approximate time : 1 week

Necessary documents;
• 1 copy of rental contract (needs to be signed within 1 month of the company registration)
• Registration document of the company/branch taken from chamber of commerce (original or copy from notary)
• Signature circular of the newly established company
5) Registration to Tax office
Approximate time : 1 day for getting the number (1 week for examination)
Necessary documents;
• Pre-permission or Operating License
• Trade Registry Gazete or Articles of Association certified by Chamber of Commerce
• Registry certificate from Chamber of Commerce
• Sealed petition

6) Opening a Bank Account

To : Any bank’s free zone branch in any of the free zones in Turkey

Necessary documents;

• Ask from the bank which you are going to open an account


Get in touch with YellAli if you would like to discuss further.



Written by OzbekCPA (Partner of YellAli)



Turkish Residence Permit

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