Turkish exports to Palestine soar after free trade deal

Turkish exports to Palestine soar after free trade deal

Turkish exports to Palestine soar after free trade deal

AA photo

Turkey’s exports to the Palestinian territories rose nine-fold over the last decade thanks to a free trade agreement, the deputy chair of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) said on March 17.  

“Our exports [to Palestine], which totaled $9.4 million in 2005, have since increased nine-fold, reaching $82.2 million in 2015,” Mustafa Çıkrıkçıoğlu said in a speech at the Turkey-Palestinian Business Forum held by the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in Istanbul.  

Çıkrıkçıoğlu said foreign trade makes up 83 percent of Palestine’s gross national product, making the freeing up of trade routes critically important for the embattled territory.

 He noted that both countries face considerable obstacles in bilateral trade, as Israel charges extra customs fees for trade with the Palestinian territories. 

A free trade agreement between Turkey and Palestine - a country partially recognized around the world - was signed in 2014 and went into effect in 2015. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Palestine when it was established in 1988.  

Turkey ranks as the fourth top exporter to Palestine after Israel, Jordan, and Italy. 

“But if you consider how Israel buys Turkish goods from Turkey and re-exports them to Palestine, we know that Turkey ranks second,” Çıkrıkçıoğlu said.  

Speaking at the same event, Palestine’s former Economy Minister Mazen Sinokrat said his country “saw Turkey as an example” for its health, tourism, and other industries.

“The public and private sectors in Palestine need strategic economic cooperation with Turkey,” Sinokrat added.