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Turkey sets bold targets for trade with the Gulf

Adult, MSaudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Turkey's President Tayyip Erdoğan as Turkish trade with Gulf states grows WAM
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Turkey's President Tayyip Erdoğan. The countries signed eight trade agreements this month
  • Trendyol plan reflects national ambitions
  • Turkey is UAE’s fastest-growing partner
  • 8 deals with Saudi Arabia in December

Turkish e-commerce marketplace Trendyol has announced a plan to lift sales across the GCC – one of the latest developments as Turkey seeks to increase trade with the Gulf.

The fashion and lifestyle platform will be rebranded for Gulf markets under a deal with Saudi retail group Cenomi. The pair hope to increase annual orders to more than 15 million in 2024.

Çağlayan Çetin, president of Trendyol Group, said expansion in the Gulf was one of its “most important growth strategies”.

The Turkish government’s targets for the region are just as ambitious. It signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) with the UAE in March – and bilateral trade, which was $10 billion in 2022, is now forecast to quadruple to $40 billion by 2028.

Trade with Saudi Arabia could reach $30 billion in the long term, according to Ankara’s trade minister Omer Bolat, and a target of $5 billion has been set for Qatar.

In 2022, trade with Saudi Arabia stood at $5.9 billion. The Qatar relationship was worth $2.2 billion.

UAE growth

Turkey is the 19th largest economy in the world, with a GDP of roughly $906 billion and population of 85 million.

It is the fastest-growing relationship among the UAE’s top 10 trading partners and the sixth largest overall, accounting for more than 3 percent of the country’s total non-oil trade.

Standard Chartered predicts that UAE exports to Turkey will grow at an average annual rate of 10 percent to 2030 while imports will increase by 8.4 percent.

Last month the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre concluded a trade roadshow, hosting Turkish business leaders in Istanbul. DMCC is now home to 570 Turkish businesses having risen by 17 percent so far this year.

Turkey is a strategic market for the free zone as it seeks to build on the Cepa with the UAE.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman and CEO at DMCC, said the countries were “closer now than ever before”, adding: “The opportunities to expand on this relationship are there for the taking.”

Rola Abu Manneh, CEO of Standard Chartered UAE, told AGBI: “The Cepa provisions, combined with the strong economic fundamentals of both countries, make this trade corridor an attractive prospect for investment and trade expansion.” 

Last month Anadolu, a state-run news agency, quoted Bolat as saying Turkey’s trade with the UAE would reach $15 billion this year.

The minister added that Emirati investments in Turkey totalled $3.4 billion, while Turkish companies had made investments in the UAE worth $350 million.

Saudi ambitions

The Saudi-Turkish Business Council witnessed the signing of eight agreements in Istanbul earlier this month.

At the council meeting on December 3, Bolat told members the volume of Saudi-Turkish trade grew by 32.6 percent last year. Ankara has ambitions to increase the 2022 figure of $5.9 billion to $10 billion in the medium term and $30 billion in the long term, he said.

He added that Turkish construction companies had won work on 400 projects in the kingdom, valued at $28 billion. About 1,400 Saudi companies are operating in Turkey.

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