Turkish-Czech trade could reach $5B, says Turkish agriculture minister

Turkish agriculture minister says ‘win-win’ policies could boost trade with Czech Republic

 Trade volume with the Czech Republic could reach $5 billion, Turkey’s agriculture minister said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a Turkish-Czech business forum in Ankara, Faruk Celik said Turkey aimed at improving its foreign trade volume under a “win-win” policy.

He said it was possible to improve agricultural trade by using the EU Customs Union in the future, possibly increasing total trade volume to $5 billion from the current amount of $3 billion.

Highlighting that livestock trade between the two countries increased in recent years, Celik said Turkey’s processed food, fresh fruits and vegetables, dried food and fisheries exports came to the forefront in the same period.

Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka said his country’s doors were always open to Turkey and its businesspeople.

“The most important topic in this forum is to repeat the success of mutual trade and build a close friendship,” Jurecka said.

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit declined to $56 billion last year amid low oil prices and a slowdown in economic activity.

The country’s foreign trade deficit in 2016 decreased by 11.7 percent from previous year’s $63.3 billion total, provisional data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed on Jan. 31.

Turkey’s exports were $12.8 billion in December 2016 with a 9 percent increase, while imports were $18.4 billion with a 2.3 percent increase compared to the same period of 2015.

In 2016, Turkey’s exports were down by 0.9 percent to $142.6 billion compared to 2015.

Its imports fell 4.2 percent to $198.6 billion from $207.2 billion in 2015, according to data produced in cooperation with the Ministry of Customs and Trade.

The data revealed that the top sector in Turkey’s exports was manufacturing, with a share of 93.7 percent and $133.6 billion in value, followed by the agricultural and forestry sector with 3.8 percent and the mining and quarrying sector with 1.9 percent.

Germany imported goods worth $14 billion from Turkey in 2016 and became the country’s number-one export partner with a 9.8 percent share.

The United Kingdom and Iraq were Turkey’s second- and third-largest export markets last year, worth $11.7 billion and $7.6 billion respectively.

In 2016, Turkey imported most from China, valued at $25.4 billion (12.8 percent). Germany and Russia were Turkey’s second and third import partners, with imports valuing $21.4 billion and $15.1 billion respectively.