Turkey’s Top Trading Partners

Turkey's Top Trading Partners

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The Republic of Turkey is strategically located at an intersection between Western Asia and Southeastern Europe. The transcontinental nation shares its borders with eight countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Turkey shipped US$233.8 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents roughly 1.5% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year earlier during 2016.

From a continental perspective, 53.3% of Turkish exports by value are delivered to European countries while 29.7% are sold to Asian importers. Turkey ships another 7.2% worth of goods to Africa and 6.5% to North American customers. A much smaller percentage of Turkish exports arrived in Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean.

Turkey’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Turkey’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. These are countries that imported the most Turkish shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Turkish exports.

  1. China: US$23.4 billion (10% of total Turkish exports)
  2. Germany: $21.3 billion (9.1%)
  3. Russia: $19.5 billion (8.3%)
  4. United States: $11.9 billion (5.1%)
  5. Italy: $11.3 billion (4.8%)
  6. France: $8.1 billion (3.5%)
  7. Iran: $7.5 billion (3.2%)
  8. Switzerland: $6.9 billion (3%)
  9. South Korea: $6.6 billion (2.83%)
  10. United Kingdom: $6.5 billion (2.8%)
  11. Spain: $6.4 billion (2.73%)
  12. India: $6.2 billion (2.66%)
  13. United Arab Emirates: $5.5 billion (2.4%)
  14. Japan: $4.3 billion (1.8%)
  15. Netherlands: $3.7 billion (1.6%)

Close to two-thirds (63.8%) of Turkish exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Among the above countries, Switzerland led in increasing its import purchases from Turkey up in value by 175.5% from 2016 to 2017. In second place was Iran with a 59.4% improvement, followed by the United Arab Emirates (up 49.9%) and Russia (up 28.7%).

Two top trade partners decreased their imports from Turkey year over year, namely China (down -8.1%) and Germany (down -0.8%).

Deficits

Overall Turkey posted a -$76.7 billion deficit on all products for 2017 expanding 36.8% from the -$56.1 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2016.

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

Turkey incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. China: -US$20.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Russia: -$16.8 billion
  3. Germany: -$6.2 billion
  4. South Korea: -$6 billion
  5. Switzerland: -$6 billion
  6. India: -$5.5 billion
  7. Iran: -$4.2 billion
  8. Japan: -$3.9 billion
  9. United States: -$3.3 billion
  10. Malaysia: -$2.9 billion

Among Turkey’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances in 2017, Switzerland reversed a $174.5 million surplus one year earlier just as Iran transitioned from a $266.4 million in black ink for 2016 to a -$4.2 billion in red ink in 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Turkey’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Turkey to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

Turkey incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Iraq: US$7.5 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. United Arab Emirates: $3.6 billion
  3. United Kingdom: $3.1 billion
  4. Israel: $1.9 billion
  5. Syria: $1.3 billion
  6. Cyprus: $1 billion
  7. Azerbaijan: $1 billion
  8. Georgia: $994.2 million
  9. Algeria: $946.4 million
  10. Slovenia: $776.8 million

Among Turkey’s trading partners that generate its greatest positive trade balances, Turkish surpluses with Cyprus (up 214,517%), United Arab Emirates (up 113.2%), Slovenia (up 23%) and Israel (up 21.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Turkey’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Turkey to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Turkish Trading Partners

Based on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following companies are examples of leading Turkish companies:

  • Koç Group (industrial conglomerate)
  • Sabanci Holding (automotive, banking)
  • Turkcell (mobile phones)
  • Enka (construction services)
  • Anadolu Efes (brewery, non-alcoholic drinks)

Global trade intelligence firm Zepol lists the following firms exporting from Turkey:

  • Anadolu Dokum San (cast iron/steel articles)
  • Cevikler Dis Ticaret (monumental/building stone)
  • Evimteks Dis Tic Ve Paz (woven fabrics, facial tissues)
  • MCE Cargo (steam condensers, plywood)
  • Ulus Metal San Ve Tic (chain sprockets, transmission components, auto parts)


 
See also China’s Top Trading Partners, Turkey’s Top 10 Exports and Turkey’s Top 10 Imports

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 9, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 9, 2018

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on February 9, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 13, 2017

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on February 13, 2017