World Economy

Turkey Uneasy With Huge China Trade Deficit

Turkey Uneasy With  Huge China Trade DeficitTurkey Uneasy With  Huge China Trade Deficit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has underlined during a visit to Beijing that even though China is Turkey's third biggest trade partner, Ankara has a long way to go for that trade volume to be balanced.

"In 2000, the trade deficit between Turkey and China was $1.24 billion in China's favor. This figure has been boosted to $22 billion [deficit for Turkey] today," Erdogan told Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Turkey-China Business Forum guests Thursday, World Bulletin reported.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, the value of Turkish goods purchased by China in 2000 stood at just $1 million, while just around $927 million in goods flowed to China in the first five months of this year.

“We need to put together a mutual effort to balance this number,” Erdogan stated.

The three-day trip–of which Thursday was the last day–was Erdogan’s second diplomatic visit to the country, following a previous trip in 2012 as prime minister.

Since his first election win of 2003, diplomatic relations–established between the two countries in 1971–have significantly improved, peaking over the last 10 years through several high-level bilateral visits.

In 2010, the two countries adopted a “Joint Declaration on the Establishment and Development of the Strategic Relationship of Cooperation,” and bilateral trade–at $1 billion in 2000–is now estimated to have surpassed more than $24 billion, although–as Erdogan underlined–a vast majority of that trade was in China’s favor.

 Yuan and Lira Trade

The Turkish leader talked of a “mutual political determination” to enhance relations between the two countries, adding that “the governments will offer businessmen every kind of opportunity to promote and support” to boost that trade volume.

To help facilitate this, Erdogan said the countries need to focus on more yuan and lira trade and avoid reliance on the US dollar.

“We need to take a step to avoid exchange rate pressures,” Erdogan said. “We discussed making more trade in Turkish lira and Chinese yuan in our meetings.”

The president also touched on the building of a “Turkey-China University” to facilitate language tuition, highlighted the importance of tourism between the two countries, and said that Turkish Airlines wants to add eight more destinations in China to its flight paths.

THY currently flies to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou from Turkey, seven times a week. “We want to boost the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey, which stood at 200,000 at the end of 2014,” Erdogan said, stating that around 100 million Chinese took vacations overseas last year.

On June 29, Turkey was among 50 countries to attend the signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing for the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which aims to provide financial assistance for infrastructure projects in Asia.

Erdogan underlined that Turkey is the 11th biggest shareholder in the bank with $2.6 billion capital and voting rights of 2.48%.

 Mutual Support

Both presidents pledged mutual support on issues of major concern. The leaders agreed that the two sides should keep in mind the general direction of the bilateral relationship, strengthen political trust and link their development strategies.

China’s leader Xi hailed Turkey’s nuclear power plant plans and said “China wants to play an active role.”

China and Turkey, both important members of the G20, face mounting common challenges and obligations against the backdrop of a complex and volatile international situation, a gloomy global economy and grim security situation in West Asia and North Africa, said the Chinese president.

“The two sides should enhance mutual trust and lay a more solid foundation for friendship,” Xi said.

Xi said he appreciates President Erdogan’s and the Turkish government’s stance opposing all forms of terrorism as well as all attempts in Turkish territory to harm China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. “[China] is willing to boost law enforcement and security cooperation between the two countries,” Xi said.