The value of merchandise trade between Turkey and the Arab countries last year amounted to 66 billion dollars, between Turkish exports to the Arabs amounting to 45.7 billion dollars, and imports from the Arabs amounting to 20.5 billion dollars, so that Turkey achieved a surplus in its trade with the Arabs amounting to 25 billion dollars, according to official Turkish data.
These historically unprecedented figures for both exports, imports and trade came as a result of Turkey’s endeavor in recent years to improve its foreign relations with everyone, whether the Arab countries that were at odds with it, or Greece, Israel and Armenia, which also witnessed growth in trade with it last year.
The leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE exchanged visits, the Egyptian and Turkish foreign ministers also exchanged visits, and delegations of Turkish businessmen moved between Turkey and those countries, and the result was the growth of Turkish trade with the Arabs last year by 19%, as a result of the growth of Turkish exports to the Arabs by 14% and the increase in imports. Of them, by 29%, the rates of mutual tourism, as well as mutual investments, also increased.
The interests of the two parties converged in this growth, and it was in the interest of Turkey, which suffered from the negative effects of the Corona epidemic on tourism resources, and the accompanying decline in the value of the Turkish lira, and the subsequent global inflation in a country that imports most of its consumption of oil, natural gas and many materials. Crude and intermediate commodities. On the other hand, the Arabs benefited from the geographical proximity, especially since both Iraq and Syria are linked by land borders with Turkey, as well as from the cheapness of Turkish products due to the decline in the value of the Turkish lira, in addition to its quality.
At the level of the Arab countries, Turkish trade increased last year with all Arab countries except Mauritania, and Turkish exports increased to 17 Arab countries, and decreased by a limited percentage to each of the Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait, Yemen and Mauritania, and Turkish imports also increased from 19 Arab countries and decreased only from Iraq, Libya and Somalia.
Iraq topped Turkish trade with the Arab countries due to its geographical neighborhood and the diversity of Turkish exports, as its share reached 23% of Turkey’s trade with the Arabs, as a result of its acquisition of 30% of Turkish exports to the Arabs, and in second place came the Arab Emirates, which is famous for re-exports, then Egypt Saudi Arabia, due to the large number of Turkish oil imports from it, Morocco and Libya, due to good relations with the Tripoli government, Algeria, Lebanon and Syria, and Qatar came in tenth place.
The relative share of Turkey’s trade with the Arabs reached 11% of its total exports with the world, as an average between the share of its exports to the Arabs reaching 18% of its exports to the world, compared to less than 6% for imports from Arab countries compared to the total Turkish imports from the countries of the world that concentrated with the European Union and Asia.
And if the Turkish trade with the Arabs has achieved unprecedented numbers, the share of the Arabs in Turkey’s trade is still less than it was ten years ago, which indicates the impact of fluctuations in the volume of trade due to the political differences in the past years.
Despite the growth of trade with Saudi Arabia last year, it is still less than it was ten years ago, and here Saudi Arabia occupies the twelfth place among the Arab countries to which Turkey exported last year, and despite the significant increase in Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia last year, their value is still Less than it was in 2007, and the same with the UAE, despite the growth of trade with it last year, its value is still less than it was ten years ago.
During the first quarter of this year, the value of Turkey’s trade with Arab countries – according to Turkish data – amounted to $15.3 billion, distributed between $10.3 billion for Turkish exports and $5 billion for imports from Arabs, with a Turkish trade surplus of $5.3 billion.
However, the value of trade was less than the quarterly average last year, whether in exports or imports. Iraq retained the largest amount of Turkish exports to Arabs as usual, and the UAE topped imports from Arabs as usual.
Among the positive aspects is the increase in Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia, to reach 675 million dollars during the first quarter of this year, compared to 1 billion and 46 million in the whole of last year, which heralds a boom in Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia this year, as Saudi Arabia ranked fifth in Turkish exports. To the Arabs in the first quarter of this year, after Iraq, the Emirates, Egypt and Libya, after it occupied the twelfth place last year.
It is natural for some to wonder about the fate of the Arab-Turkish trade in the event of the opposition’s victory, especially with the negative actions of one of the components of the six-party alliance towards the Syrian presence there, and the answer comes through the Turkish reality and interest, for a country that has had a chronic deficit in the trade balance for decades, and that trade deficit will continue years to come, due to its connection to the weak self-sufficiency rate of oil and natural gas, as the discovered quantities of them are still limited compared to the large volume of consumption.
In light of Turkey achieving a chronic trade surplus with the Arab countries, any ruling regime in it has an interest in continuing and increasing Arab trade to compensate for part of the large trade deficit, which last year amounted to 109.5 billion dollars, and the coverage ratio of Turkish exports to countries of the world to Turkish imports reached 70. percent, which is the lowest rate in the last five years.
And after Iraq came in third place in Turkey’s exports to the countries of the world last year after Germany and the United States of America, any ruling regime in Turkey will seek to maintain trade relations with Iraq, especially since it remained among the top five countries in Turkish exports to the countries of the world in the last ten years between Second, third and fourth place.
Any Turkish regime will also seek to increase exports to the Arab markets, especially since there is room for increasing them, whether to the Arab Gulf countries, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, or to the Maghreb countries. If the six Gulf countries received Turkish exports worth $9.1 billion last year, other countries received The five Arab Maghreb exports are Turkish with a value of nearly ten billion dollars, and if Iraq alone has received exports worth about $14 billion, the value of Turkish exports to Egypt has approached five billion dollars, and the value of Turkish exports has exceeded two billion dollars in both Syria and Lebanon. It exceeded one billion dollars in Yemen.
An analytical report published by Al-Jazeera Mubasher website, written by writer Mamdouh El-Wali, former head of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate