Recovery in Arab markets a remedy for local exporters

Recovery in Arab markets a remedy for local exporters

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Recovery in Arab markets a remedy for local exporters

This file photo shows Libyans enjoying Eid al Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, despite security concerns . Turkey’s sales to Libya surpassed the whole of 2011 in the first eight months of this year. AA photo

Turkey’s exports to the so called “Arab Spring” nations are recovering slightly, with sales to Egypt, the largest market in the region, nearing pre-uprising figures in the first eight months of the year. A decreasing share of European markets in the country’s overall exports make the healing even more crucial for domestic manufacturers and related sectors.

Tunisia is the sole nation where Turkish exports did not fall during the regional unrest, while markets in Libya and Syria became the most affected, according to Economy Ministry figures gathered by Anatolia news agency.

Turkey’s exports to Egypt stood at $2.6 billion in 2009 when Hosnu Mubarak was on his seat. In 2010 the figure fell sharply to $2.25 billion before jumping back to $2.75 last year, offsetting losses. Eight months in to the current year the figure exceeded $2.47 billion. Turkey’s sales to Tunisia at the starting point of the Arab uprising were at $647 million in 2009. The figure increased to $714 million and $802 million in two years respectively. The first-eight-month volume this year was $518 million.

However, exports to Libya, who is not only a trade partner but also a serious investment destination for Turkish businesses, are still far from the past volume of nearly $1.8 billion in 2009 and over 1.93 billion in 2010. Still, sales to Libya between January and August touched $1.33 billion, a quite optimistic level compared to the $748 million seen in the whole of 2011. Syria trade seems to be Turkey’s largest gap with a mere $360 million in exports in the first eight months, incomparable to 1.84 million in 2010.
The conflict-riddled country also sits on Turkey’s trade routes to the Middle East, causing growing concern among both exporters and transportation companies.


European volume down

The recovery in these markets is a lifeline of support for Turkish business as the share of the European Union nations fell to 38 percent in the first nine months of the year from 47 percent in the same period a year earlier. There is no sign of a spring-back seen in the near future.

The Aegean Exporters Union (EİB) said in a written statement over the weekend that exports to the country’s largest market fell to $42.64 billion between January and September from $47.65 billion the same period in 2011. The fall of more than 9 percent is due mainly to the ongoing crisis on the continent, the statement said.

However, a share of exports from the Aegean region to the EU nations fell only 1 percent to 47 percent, it said. This was not a coincidence, but a result of the decade-long good relationships Turkey has.

Germany topped the EİB’s exports markets this year with $842 million in the first nine months.
“Our exports to the EU will continue both during this economic crisis and afterwards,” said EİB’s Coordinating President Mustafa Türkmenoğlu in the statement. “However, our efforts to find new markets during this period are continuing non-stop.”