ECONOMY

Exporters’ report on trade with Turkey

Turkey is developing into one of Greece’s important trade partners, with prospects picking up markedly following the European Commission’s green light on October 6 for the start of entry negotiations, according to the Center for Export Research and Study of the Panhellenic Exporters’ Association (PSE). Greek exports to Turkey more than quadrupled from 1990 ($115 million) to 2003 ($527 million in today’s prices). Over the same period, imports from Turkey had a six-fold increase, from $144 million to $864 million. Turkey thus became Greece’s eighth biggest customer and 13th greatest provider. Exports to Turkey rose by 66 percent in those 13 years, while imports from the eastern neighbor more than doubled (up 113 percent). The trend continued in the first six months of this year, with a 40 percent rise in exports and 53 percent rise in imports in dollars. Bilateral trade volume was six times higher last year ($1392 million) than in 1990 ($223 million), representing 2.6 percent of Greece’s total trade and 1.2 percent of Turkey’s. PSE suggests that one of the reasons for the instability of Greek exports is that they are limited to just a few products, as opposed to imports which stretch to a great range and number. This export pattern is more reminiscent of that of a developing country as the main volume consists of raw materials and fuel, while Turkey’s export pattern to Greece is entirely different: Industrial products made up 86 percent in 2000 and 84 percent last year. Nevertheless the pattern of Greek exports to Turkey also reveals how costly, tough or even impenetrable the Turkish market is. In its report this month, the Commission stresses that harmonization with the EU’s acquis communautaire remains unfulfilled while trade barriers that should have been abolished since 2000, according to the Customs Union, remain intact. PSE, however, believes that the recent confirmation of Turkey’s European prospects will bring a new phase in the Greek-Turkish financial relations. Greece at WIN 2005 Greece will be the country of honor at the WIN (World of Industry) 2005 exhibition in Istanbul from March 17-20, 2005. This industrial equipment fair at the Tuyap Fair and Congress Center attracts thousands of visitors every year, and the Greek-German Board along with the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) are this time preparing a strong presence by Greek companies, to exploit new business opportunities with Turkey. Research by SEV International showed Turkey as a top choice for Greek business expansion abroad. Some 75 Greek companies have already begun to invest there, according to SEV International’s president, Thanassis Lavidas. The dynamics of the bilateral trade are clear, he said, citing the 2003 trade level as proof.