New Era in Turkey – China Trade Relations

New generation opportunities from Far Asia to Europe in the age of uncertainty and fragility…

The trade diplomacy activities carried out G-20 member Turkey and China among themselves have an important role in the regional and global economic growth of these countries in capacity and performance. It is possible to see the said increase in capacity and performance of Turkey and China in the G-20 term presidency applications of both countries in 2015 and 2016. The priorities of “inclusiveness, sustainability and application” set by the G-20 presidency of Turkey in 2015 was continued by the People’s Republic of China in 2016 under the title “inclusive, innovative and linked world economy”. It is observed that these relations have reached a new outlook with the “Belt and Road” historical Silk Road trade project covering 68 countries. In this term during which the tensions and global trade wars in the economic and political relations between Turkey-US are deepening, the trade diplomacy activities taking place between Turkey and China is gaining a critical outlook. These activities between the two countries can be expressed as financing of infrastructure investments, management of foreign direct investments and mutual benefit-based use of financial instruments. In this respect, the framework of commercial diplomacy activities comprise the foreign trade volume, knowhow transfer on the basis of sectors and the role and function of diplomatic missions established in both countries.


In the first quarter of 2019 Turkey has realized $26 billion 364 million dollars worth of total exports to China, at the same time the sum of goods and services imported from China was approximately $2.9 billion. The foreign trade deficit in 2018 between Turkey and China amounts to about $18 billion.


Turkey’s monthly export curve with China appears to be tightening at the $220-280 million band. Exports, which reached the lowest level of 107 million dollars at the beginning of 2016, reached $278 million in June 2018, which is the beginning of the economic and political crisis with the US. Turkey needs to increase the trade and private sector centered capacity and performance of resident diplomatic missions in China to overcome the monthly average of $280 million exports band from Turkey to China. Building a common governance model in the external relations of the private and public sectors to realize the performance increase is inevitable. The simplification of bureaucratic mechanisms in the realization of commercial activities between Turkey and China, fast, effective and results-oriented sharing of the investment opportunities in China with the Turkish business world are complementary to these steps. Another important indicator of commercial diplomacy activities are investment rates. China’s investments in Turkey have increased significantly since 2013 with the implementation of the Belt and Road project. This increase reached $800 million from $200 million. The steps taken by China in terms of the investments made by Turkey in infrastructure in recent years have been effective in the realization of this increase.

Academician Dr. Uğur Yasin Asal

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