Turkish textile exporters eye new markets in Africa to recover Russian losses
ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
DHA photoExporters of ready-to-wear textile products in Turkey, who have been hit by sanctions imposed by Russia, are eying new markets in Africa to compensate their losses.
Speaking at a press conference on Dec. 15 in Istanbul, Hikmet Tanrıverdi, the head of the Istanbul Ready-Made Garment Exporters’ Association (İHKİB), said the Russian sanctions caused problems for the economies of both Turkey and Russia, which have had strong ties in the energy, food, tourism, and textile sectors.
“Our textile export numbers with Russia were already declining over the last two years due to the falling ruble and the Ukraine crisis. We had been planning to boost textile exports in 2016, but the Russian jet crisis damaged our plans,” Tanrıverdi said.
Following the downing of the Russian jet by Turkey on Nov. 24, Moscow introduced a range of sanctions, ranging from restrictions on visa-free travel for Turks to a ban on imports of certain foodstuffs and textile products from Turkey.
“Until the political situation between Turkey and Russia clears up, we have decided to set new strategies to direct textile exports [originally destined for] Russia to the African market,” said Tanrıverdi, adding that the textile industry always thinks about the worst-case scenario.
“We already have trade relations with Nigeria, and now we are having some talks with Cameroon. We are planning to reach six more countries and a market of 35 million people via Cameroon. I hope we will double ready-to-wear exports to Africa in three years,” he said.
“We have had a deep relationship with Russia for hundreds of years. The Turkish and Russian people also have friendly relations, like relatives,” Tanrıverdi added, saying he did not want to lose hope for ties with Russia.
The foreign trade volume between Turkey and Russia was $31.2 billion in 2014, marking a 17.3 percent increase from the previous year.