Western sanctions boost Russian trade with Turkey

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Industry groups in Turkey have reported increased demand from Russia since the introduction of sanctions on Moscow by Western nations.

Sanctions imposed by Western nations on Russia in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine have resulted in new opportunities for Turkish exporters, with the country increasingly viewed as a "warehouse and bridge" to Moscow, an industry group has noted.

Cetin Tecdelioglu, head of the Istanbul Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals Exporters' Association (IDDMIB), told Reuters that demand from Russian firms for products they are no longer able to source from the EU or the US has increased significantly since February's invasion. 

At the same time, he added Turkish firms have received enquiries from European companies about acting as intermediaries for imports to Russia. While he did not single out any specific businesses, Mr Tecdelioglu said they included producers of goods such as copper, aluminum, kitchenware and machinery.

In the first seven months of 2022, IDDMIB data shows Turkey's exports of ferrous and non-ferrous metals totalled 8.9 billion lira ($495.58 million), an increase of 33 percent compared with the same period in 2021. This accounted for 6.2 percent of Turkey's exports.

For the year to date, exports to Russia of these goods rose by 26 percent year-on-year, reaching $170 million.

Turkey has joined its NATO allies in criticizing Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has supplied Ukrainian forces with weapons such as drones, as well as closing the Bosphorus to Russian warships. However, it has not imposed the same sort of sanctions as economies such as the EU, US or UK, and is seeking to maintain close ties to Moscow on issues such as trade, energy and tourism.

Mr Tecdelioglu also noted that Russia's threats to cut off the supply of gas to the EU could also lead to greater opportunities for Turkish exporters if energy shortages in Europe lead to the shutdown of industrial facilities.

Elsewhere, a report from the UK's Royal United Services Institute thinktank has called on countries to tighten up export controls on items such as computer chips in order to prevent Russia from bypassing sanctions on dual-use items.

It said Moscow has found numerous loopholes to get around export bans, noting that electronic components from manufacturers such as Texas Instruments and Sony have been found in Russian weapons captured or destroyed in Ukraine.