Turkey flag Turkey: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Turkey

Foreign Trade in Figures

Turkey’s economy is open to foreign trade, which represents 61% of its GDP (World Bank, 2020). Automobile (10.8% of total exports including passenger cars, transport vehicles and accessories for vehicles) and petroleum oils products (2.2%) were top exports of Turkey in 2020, followed by jewellery, gold, iron, steel and textile products. The main imported products were gold (11.5%), motor cars and accessories (6% in total), petroleum oils (2.9%), ferrous waste (2.8%) and electrical apparatus (1.5%) (Comtrade). Turkey's volume of exports and imports declined sharply in 2020 mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but rebounded in 2021. According to IMF data, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by 21.4% in 2021, while imports grew by 3.4%. Exports are forecast to rise at a slower rate in 2022 (7%), while imports are expected to accelerate (10.4%).

Germany (9.4% of all exports), the United Kingdom (6.6%), the United States (6%), Iraq (5.4%) and Italy (4.8%) and were among the top destinations for Turkish exports. China (10.5%), Germany (9.9%) and Russia (8.1%) were the main supplier of goods in Turkey, followed by the United States (5.3%) and Italy (4.2%). Turkey has 22 active free trade agreements (FTAs), including its very first trade deal with the European Economic Area in 1991 and the most recent one with the United Kingdom, which entered into force on 1 January 2021. Trade agreements with Qatar, Lebanon and Sudan are also expected to enter into force soon. At the same time, Turkey has pursued FTA negotiations with Ukraine, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia and will start renegotiating the terms of its existing agreements with Georgia, Malaysia and Moldova. The United States imposed additional duties on imports of Turkish steel in August 2018 but they were reduced back to 25% in May 2019. The hike was found illegal by the US Court of International Trade in 2020. However, the EU started to impose duties on Turkish iron and steel imports in January 2021. The US-EU tariff deal reached in October 2021 could impact Turkish steel exports to the US.

Turkish trade structure has been characterised by a wide deficit (USD 37.9 billion in 2020 according to World Bank data) mainly due to energy imports. Also, as most of its exports are tied to imports of intermediate, semi-finished or raw products, the evolution of trade balance has been traditionally linked to economic growth and the lira's value against the US dollar. In 2020, Turkey's imports of goods totalled USD 219.5 billion, whereas the total value of its exported goods reached USD 169.7 billion (WTO). According to WTO, exports of services in 2020 were higher than imports, USD 34.6 billion and USD 24.8 billion respectively. The government has maintained an active policy of incentivising the use of locally sourced fuel for power generation by supporting renewables and domestic coal-fired production in order to reduce the country's reliance on gas imports. At the same time, the currency crisis, which brought the value of Turkish lira to historic lows, pressured imports and boosted exports. According to the Turkish Ministry of Trade, Turkish exports reached USD 225 billion in 2021 (+32.8% compared with 2020) while its imports rose to USD 271 billion (+23.6%).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 198,610233,800231,152210,345219,515
Exports of Goods (million USD) 142,557156,993177,169180,833169,651
Imports of Services (million USD) 22,21522,66827,37126,86024,765
Exports of Services (million USD) 37,63443,38457,84962,81034,573

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 48.355.862.562.760.9
Trade Balance (million USD) -39,923-58,575-40,726-16,751-37,866
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -19,400-32,242-10,55218,777-28,717
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.010.6-6.4-5.37.4
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1.712.49.04.9-15.4
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 25.229.731.329.932.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 23.126.031.232.728.6

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 21.47.04.84.34.1
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 3.410.410.59.99.3

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Turkey is a member of the following international economic organisations: G-20, WTO, IMF, Pacific Alliance (observer), OECD, ICC, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Turkey click here. International organisation membership of Turkey is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Turkey can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
Germany 9.4%
United Kingdom 6.6%
United States 6.0%
Iraq 5.4%
Italy 4.8%
See More Countries 67.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
China 10.5%
Germany 9.9%
Russia 8.1%
United States 5.3%
Italy 4.2%
See More Countries 62.0%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

169.7 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.7%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 2.6%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 2.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 2.2%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 1.6%
See More Products 85.4%
219.5 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 11.5%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.6%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 2.9%
Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting scrap ingots of...Ferrous waste and scrap; remelting scrap ingots of iron or steel (excl. slag, scale and other waste from the production of iron or steel; radioactive waste and scrap; fragments of pigs, blocks or other primary forms of pig iron or spiegeleisen) 2.8%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 2.4%
See More Products 76.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

8.5 bn USD of services exported in 2018
52.07%
36.47%
2.59%
2.43%
1.91%
1.37%
1.33%
1.14%
0.55%
0.08%
0.06%
3.9 bn USD of services imported in 2018
42.66%
20.68%
10.99%
7.14%
6.03%
5.42%
3.27%
1.11%
1.07%
0.90%
0.73%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: June 2022

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