Exports to Turkey top billion-rupee mark in ‘13

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Exports to Turkey top billion-rupee mark in ‘13

Jun 14, 2014-

Until five years ago, no one had thought Turkey would be one of Nepal’s emerging trade partners. Today, Turkey is one of the few countries with which Nepal enjoys trade surplus.

Exports to turkey have been consistently growing in the last three years. Nepal saw a whopping 95 percent growth in exports to Turkey over the period, according to the data of Trade and Exports Promotion Centre (TEPC).

The exports surpassed billion-rupee mark for the first time in 2013, with Turkey importing Nepali products worth Rs 1.08 billion in the year. The country is now Nepal’s ninth largest export destination, with a 1.3 percent of in total exports.

Experts attribute growth in trade with Turkey to growing bilateral relationship, especially at private sector level. Establishment of Nepal Turkey Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NTCCI) in 2009 opened the door for private sectors of both the countries to explore business opportunities.

“Bilateral relationship between Nepal and Turkey has improved over the past five years, and this has had a positive impact on trade relationship,” said NTCCI President Akhil Chapagain, adding active engagement between business associations of the countries is another reason for the trade growth.

“We have been attending business events in Turkey to promote Nepali products there,” said Chapagain, adding a 23-member Nepali delegation will attend the Turkey World Trade Bridge (TWTB) 2014 in Istanbul on June 17-18.

The two-day event, organised by Tuskon, will be participated by around 2,000 business delegates from 140 countries, besides 2,100 Turkish participants.

Nepal’s Ambassador to Turkey Bharat Raj Paudyal said the Turkish government’s “soft corner” for least developed countries (LDCs) has helped Nepal get market access for its products there. “The Turkish government has committed to provide preferential access to goods manufactured by LDCs,” Paudyal said. Among Nepal’s major export items to Turkey are yarn of polyester staple fibres, woollen carpets, leather goods, and handicrafts.

TEPC statistics show Nepal’s export basket, for Turkey, is limited to only 14 products, with the yarn of polyester staple fibres holding 88.8 percent share.

Paudyal sees a huge scope for expansion of the bilateral trade. “There is a huge demand for Nepal carpets and tea in Turkey, but Nepali traders have not been able to cater to the demand,” he said.

The commencement of direct Istanbul-Kathmandu flights is expected to provide more opportunities for both countries to expand trade relation.

Turkish Airlines on Friday announced daily flights on the Kathmandu-Istanbul-Kathmandu sector from Saturday. The carrier launched its Nepal service on Sept 2, 2013, with four weekly flights.

Although imports from Turkey have declined in the last two years compared to 2011, Turkish products are slowly getting visibility in the Nepali market, especially brands like Beko, Suvari and Istikbal. Nepal imports food items, furniture and furnishing items, apparel, sanitary articles, carpets, electrical equipment and pharmaceutical products, among others.

Despite growing trade between the two countries, Nepal has not signed a bilateral agreement with Turkey. Expressing its interest to partner with Nepal, the Turkish government had forwarded a proposal and a draft of the agreement to the Nepal government two weeks ago.

Turkey has also proposed to establish “Nepal-Turkey Joint Economic Commission” to explore trade and investment-related opportunities and to identify and resolve challenges.

According to Chapagain, the Nepali delegation will also lobby for several trade relationship enhancing tools like the signing of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement during the TWTB 2014.

Nepal-Turkey Bilateral Trade

Year    Exports                         Imports

2013    Rs 1.08 billion          Rs 475.01 million    

2012    Rs 819.71 million    Rs 458.75 million

2011    Rs 558.97 million    Rs 1.05 billion

2010    Rs 645.10 million    Rs 1.08 billion

2009    Rs 148 million          Rs 327.71 million

Published: 15-06-2014 09:10

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