Foreign Trade Indicators: Complying with the Customs Union Agreement between Turkey and the EU countries that came into effect on January 1st, 1996, Turkey eliminated all barriers on imports of industrial products from EU members and began to apply the EU’s Common Customs Tariff on trade with other countries.
In 2007 exports reached a value of 107.2 billion USD, while imports stood at 170 billion USD. The same year, the foreign trade deficit was realized as 62.8 billion USD.
Export-Import Ratio: The export-import ratio was around 60% for a long time; in the country.
The export-import ratio, which was 65.4% in 1999, increased to 75.7% in 2001 and further receded to 64.8% in 2004 and 62.1% in 2006. In 2007, this ratio was 63%.
Foreign Trade by Country Groups: European Union countries have a substantial and permanent place in Turkey’s foreign trade.
Among the UN countries Germany is Turkey’s leading trading partner in both exports and imports. The USA, Italy, Britain, and France are among other important trading partners of the country. Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1990, the Russian Federation gradually started to gain weight in Turkey’s foreign trade. Islamic countries, particularly those in the Middle East and North Africa, have had a prominent place in Turkey’s foreign trade since the early 1980s. The shares of countries that are members of the Organisation of The Islamic Conference in total exports and imports in 2007 were 18% and 13.5%, respectively.
Balance of Payments: Data on the balance of payments are based on foreign currency records in Turkey. The USD is the monetary unit which appears on balance sheets, and all transactions in other currencies are converted to the USD. Following regulatory and organizational changes in 1984, balance sheets for Turkey’s balance of payments have been published monthly, quarterly and annually. Thus, Turkey is one of the few IMF-supported countries issuing monthly balance sheets. The most important item on the current transaction account in the balance of payments sheet is the trade of goods. The rapid deterioration of the foreign trade balance over the years and particularly in the aftermath of 1988 adversely affected the current transactions account and led to an increase in the foreign trade deficit. The share of exports and imports in the national income has gradually increased.
However, the rate of increase was much higher in the import/GNP ratio.
Another item adversely affecting the current transactions account is the interest payments of foreign debts.
The balance of current transfers, yielding a surplus in the balance of payments sheet, shows developments in workers’ remittances, described as unsecured special and official transfers, combined with other transfer items. Foreign exchange remittances of over 1.2 million Turkish workers abroad positively affect the total unsecured special transfers which create a surplus in the balance of current transfers.
In 2007, the foreign trade deficit has reached a level of 62.8 billion US dollars, due to the increase in imports caused by the excessive valuation of the Turkish Lira. In the same year, the balance of current accounts has been realized at around 37.4 billion US dollars.