Trade flows

Turkey’s geography has been for centuries, since the time of the Silk Road route, the trade gate between Far East and Western Europe. Not by chance, Turkey is the 13th-largest economy for global production and the largest emerging market in Europe: key industrial sectors are textile, automotive, electronics and cement. The country is a service-based economy (50% of the total workforce), producing 70% of total GDP, followed by industrial output and agriculture (still 25% of the working population). International trade is a big part of economic activity, being Turkey the 31st largest exporter in the world.

People stroll at the Grand Bazaar, known as the Covered Bazaar, in Istanbul, Turkey. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
People stroll at the Grand Bazaar, known as the Covered Bazaar, in Istanbul, Turkey. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

According to the May 2017 statistics of the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, Turkey is the EU’s largest export market and the 5th largest provider of imports. The EU is by far Turkey’s number one import and export partner, with a total trading volume of around 310 billion euros (2016, while in 1994, before the Customs Union, the trading volume was of 34 billion euros). Turkey’s main export markets are the EU (48%), Iraq, USA, United Arab Emirates and Iran. Imports into Turkey come from the EU (39%), China, Russia, USA, South Korea and India.

Figure n°4: Extra-EU and Turkey trade balance in million ECU/EURO, 2007-2016

Source: Eurostat

Moving to EU’s trade with Turkey, both imports and exports grow. In particular, EU exports to Turkey are dominated by machinery and transport material, chemical products and manufactured goods. Turkey’s exports to the EU are mostly machinery and transport equipment, followed by manufactured goods.

Figure n°5: EU merchandise trade with Turkey by product in 2016

Source: Eurostat

More in details:

  • textile increased more than other sectors in absolute terms, but has been overcome proportionally by other products, expanding to a greater extent;
  • motor vehicles experienced a comparable increase both in absolute figures and in proportion;
  • the same, even if less significant, for machinery and metal products;
  • fruits and foodstuffs, instead, made minimal gains in value terms and saw their share of Turkey’s exports to the EU decline. It seems (figure n°15) that the still limited liberalisation of agriculture worked to the disadvantage of Turkey’s food-processing sector.

@manu_scogna10

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