|Turkey, one of the largest raisin producers in the world, managed to advance its exports to China after additional tariffs were imposed by Beijing on vegetables and fruits coming from the United States / Photo by: Scott Ehardt via Wikimedia Commons|
Turkey, one of the largest raisin producers in the world, managed to advance its exports to China after additional tariffs were imposed by Beijing on vegetables and fruits coming from the United States. This is based on the recent data shared by the Assembly Aegean Exporters’ Association (EİB), an Izmir-based nonprofit organization acting under the auspices of Turkish Ministry of Trade and Turkish Exporters Assembly.
It was revealed that the country’s raisin exports between September to November amounted to nearly $162.71 million, an increase of 9% compared to the data of the same period in 2018.
Raisin Exports of Turkey
Turkish raisin exporters were likewise able to achieve advantageous results during the Chinese Import Fair that began on November 5 and ended on November 10. The expo was participated in by more than 180 countries, regions, and international organizations. There were also more than 3,800 enterprises all over the world that took part in the import fair.
Turkey Sees an Opportunity to Boost Trade Amid US-China Trade War
Aegen Dried Fruits and Products Exporters’ chairman Birol Celeb said via Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah that the expo was very productive. Both the US-China trade war and the promotional activities of Turkey have helped boost the demand for Turkish products, particularly dried fruits. The country even received several requests during the import fair in China.
The Turkish trade minister Ruhsar Pekcan also previously stated that their country is seeing the opportunity to boost their trade amid the trade war between the US and China. They have even expressed to the United States their readiness to provide the goods, she said.
|Turkish raisin exporters were likewise able to achieve advantageous results during the Chinese Import Fair that began on November 5 and ended on November 10 / Photo by: E4024 via Wikimedia Commons|
Turkey Raisin Annual Report 2019
In a Turkey raisin annual report 2019 prepared by agricultural specialist Kubilay Karabina, it was explained that the raisin harvest season in the country usually starts in August. This is the reason why their market years usually begin in September. Aside from India, China, and the United States, Turkey is one of the major raisin producers in the world. It produces more than 25% of the world’s production of raisins. Turkey is likewise home to over 1,200 different grape varieties and these grapes are grown throughout the country.
Every year, the country produces an estimated 4 million metric tons of grapes. It is the Aegean region that is known for producing seedless grapes intended for drying while the Southeast Anatolia, Central Anatolia, and Marmara regions are recognized to produce wine and table grapes. Table grapes comprise roughly 50% of the country’s total grape production, drying grapes (raisins) make up 35 to 40%, and grapes for alcoholic beverages make up 10 to 15%.
Celeb believes that because of the business connections that they have established and the quality of their products, Turkey’s growth trends in raisin exports will continue. They will also take advantage of the fruitarian dietary habits of China even if the trade war between China and the US will be over.
Traditionally, Europe is Turkey’s main raisin export market but the country is searching for a new market as well, according to the Association of Aegean Dried Fruits and Products Exporters’ board member Şemsettin Özgür. The reason why the UK is the country that likes Turkish raisins the most is that British people use dried fruits in their cakes that they usually eat during tea time.
From September to August 2019, Turkey was able to export about 246 thousand tons of raisins to a total of 99 countries. This enabled the country to earn $501 million in US dollars, reports global fresh produce news provider FreshPlaza. During the said period, export value to China increased by 135% and Japan by 63%. Other countries where the Turkish raisins were exported to include the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, France, Belgium, Ireland, and Spain.
|Every year, the country produces an estimated 4 million metric tons of grapes / Photo by: Narek75 via Wikimedia Commons|
Raisin Export Deal
Daily Sabah also mentioned that a Turkish company based in Manisa recently inked an agreement with one of the largest food importers in China. The two firms agreed that the Turkish company will export raisins worth $3 million. The agreement came after agricultural company Özgür Tarım negotiated with Chinese-firm Cofco Sundry during the import fair. “For us, China, in particular, is a new market that needs to be discovered,” the company states.
Trade Openness Index
Meanwhile, the trade openness index is an economic metric used to calculate the ratio of the country’s total trade (the sum of exports plus imports) to its gross domestic product. Scientific online publication Our World in Data details Turkey’s trade openness index in the following years: 2001 (49.40%), 2004 (48.12%), 2006 (48.15%), 2008 (49.91%), 2010 (45.90%), 2012 (52.25%), 2014 (51.41%), and 2016 (46.82%). In the interpretation of the openness index, the higher the index, the larger the influence of the trade on domestic activities. It also means a stronger economy.
Turkey is now expanding its efforts to have a larger share in the market. Since exports are one of the integral parts of the international trade, an increase in the raisin exports reflects Turkey's competitive advantage in commodities and their ability to produce. As a result, it brings in higher wages, increases jobs, and improves the residents’ standard of living.