Some European companies that cannot directly engage in trade activities due to sanctions want to sell their products to Russia via Turkiye, people from local exporters’ associations have said.
Among its trading partners, Turkiye boosted its exports to Russia the most in July, and demand from Russia for Turkish products are expected to gain traction further as Russia is increasingly turning to Turkiye to buy goods that it cannot supply from Europe, according to the people.
“Chemicals and fresh fruits and vegetables are the main items we are exporting to Russia. Demand from Russia has increased amid the U.S. and European sanctions as Russia is looking for alternative suppliers,” said Mustafa Gültepe, the head of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM).
Gültepe stressed Turkiye’s strong commercial ties with Europe and said European companies might want to benefit from Turkiye’s continuing trade relations with Russia.
European companies want to use Turkiye as “a warehouse, a bridge” to do business with Russia, while Russian companies want to buy goods from Turkiye, said Çetin Tecdelioğlu from TİM, adding that this represents an opportunity for the Turkish industry and exports.
“Russians are buying the goods they cannot from Germany, Italy and France,” he said.
Turkiye has become an important supplier for Russia, according to Kazım Taycı, the head of the Istanbul Cereals Pulses Oil Seeds and Products Exporters’ Association (İHBİR).
“We have learned that some European companies want to use Turkiye as a base to sell products to Russia,” Taycı added.
Burak Önder from the Household and Kitchen Appliances Industrialists and Exporters Association (EVSİD) confirmed that Russian demand has been shifting toward Turkiye in the wake of the sanctions. “It looks like this demand will increase further, Önder said, noting that Russia is a huge market with a population of around 147 million people and annual imports of $293 billion.
Recently, a delegation from the Istanbul Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals Exporters’ Association (İDDMİB) and the Turkiye-Russia Industry Working Group traveled to Russia, and the Trade Ministry is working to establish a secretariat tasked with increasing bilateral trade, officials said.
“Russia does not want to use euro in trade. It does not have many options,except for Turkiye and China,” said Gökhan Turan from the İDDMİD.
Turkiye’s exports to Russia increased from $417 million in July 2021 to $730 million last month, accounting for 3.9 percent of all exports. In the first seven months of 2022, exports to Russia climbed from $3.05 billion to $3.64 billion in the same period of last year.
Turkiye’s imports from Russia increased by 78 percent to $4.4 billion,while imports during the January-July period rose by 113 percent to $32.1 billion.