Importing and Exporting in Turkey

Importing and Exporting in Turkey

Updated on Sunday 03rd November 2019

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Turkey is an important destination for imported goods from Germany, Russia, Italy, France and China. The main destination for Turkey exports are: Germany, United Kingdom, Iraq, Italy and France, where a lot of products, such as refined petroleum, cars, raw iron bars, vehicle parts and delivery trucks, are delivered every year. Among the products exported by Turkey there are: dried fruits, pickled foods, cotton waste, wheat flours, cement etc. Our law firm in Turkey can help foreign investors who want to open trading companies in this country.

Custom Union for industrial goods


The Turks import mainly cars, gold, refined petroleum, chemicals, machinery etc. Since 1995, Turkey signed the Customs Union agreement with the EU and in the future, there is a chance to become a member of EU. In the recent years, the commercial relationships between EU and Turkey have become tighter since EU has been Turkey’s most important partner for imports and exports. On the other hand, Turkey is the 7th in the top of EU imports.The Customs Union is applicable for industrial goods and processed agricultural products. According to the Customs Union agreement, Turkey has to align to the EU acquis.

Turkey is also part of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, called Euromed, whose goal is to promote economic integration in 16 countries from the Mediterranean region. The Turkish authorities have signed many double tax treaties in order for the foreign investors to avoid the double taxation.


Import and export procedures in Turkey

Turkey is one of the largest trading economies in the world and companies here import and export a large quantity of products, especially related to the agricultural field. This is why the country has a well-developed transportation network by land, water and air. Most of the products exported by Turkish companies are directed towards Europe and Asia. Also, both imported and exported products must be declared with the Customs Authorities in Turkey and must be accompanied by declarations of the forwarder along with other documents, such as:

  • - invoices;
  • - conformity certificates;
  • - proof of payment of the import/export duties and other taxes.

In case of imports or export of certain special products, additional documents will be required. Also, it is strictly forbidden to export antiques out of Turkey. In order to ease import and export procedures, Turkey has adhered to several international agreements and is now part of the World Trade Organization, the Economic Cooperation Organization and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation. Companies here also use the Harmonized System in order to classify the goods imported or exported.


Top exports of Turkey 

From a business point of view, Turkey was among top exporters from around the world, with vehicles export worth approximately 15.9% of the total trading, or around USD 26.8 billion. This is followed by machinery exports of around USD 15.8 billion and iron and steel exports worth approximately USD 11.6 billion. Electrical machinery, precious metals, iron and steel articles, clothing, plastics articles, and mineral fuels are among the exports of Turkey for 2018. It is important to note that the export of vehicles grew by 97.5% in 2018 compared to 2017, a sector that generates billions of dollars on a yearly basis. International entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Turkey can think of the import and export sector and register a trading company. If you need legal advice and support in this matter, you can rely on our team of lawyers in Turkey who can handle the entire process.

Turkey’s top imports

Mineral fuels worth around USD 43 billion were imported in Turkey in 2018 and sum up approximately 19.3% of the total imports of this country. These are followed by machinery, equipment, plastics, steel, iron, pharmaceuticals, and organic chemicals. The imports of Turkey come from European countries, from Australia, Latin America, Africa, and Asia and are worth around USD 17,788 trillion as declared at the beginning of this year.

Turkey’s trading partners

In terms of export sales, Turkey has solid business collaborations with countries worldwide and benefits from excellent strategic geolocation which eases the trading activities by sea, air, and land. The following numbers and facts show in large lines the trading direction of Turkey:
  • approximately 58.3% of the total exports of Turkey were directed to more than 15 business partners last year;
  • 9.6% of the total exports of Turkey were directed to Germany in 2018, and worth around USD 16.1 billion;
  • Italy, Iraq, USA, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Romania, Israel, the UAE, Poland, Russia, and Egypt were Turkey’s important trading partners in 2018;
  • according to statistics, Turkey went from a USD 70.8 million deficit in its trade with Spain registered in 2017 to earning a $2.2 billion surplus last year.
Surpluses in the trading field were registered from Romania, the Netherlands and Libya in 2018, showing that Turkey is extremely competitive and a reliable and respected business partner. International entrepreneurs wanting to open a company in Turkey can talk to one of our Turkish attorneys and ask for complete legal advice.

How can I open a trading company in Turkey?

The formalities of opening a company in Turkey are not complicated, however, it is recommended to have the support of a lawyer when preparing the documents and applying for licenses and permits. The limited liability company or LTD in Turkey is the most suitable business structure for foreigners wanting a business in this country. For a minimum share capital of TRY 10,000 (around EUR 3,000), a limited liability company can be registered in Turkey, followed by other important formalities like preparing the Articles of Association, a letter of undertaking showing the business activities, the power of attorney for company representatives and copies of the identification documents of owners. All the legal aspects of starting a business in Turkey can be explained by our Turkish lawyers if you get in touch with them.

Documents for imported and exported products 

The insurance certificate of the products, the import and export license, the customs entry documents issued by the government of the country of origin of the products, the certificate of free sale and the analysis certificate showing the goods do not present problems are among the necessary documents which need to be presented at the customs. In the case of perishable products like fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish, importers and exporters must pay extra attention to the needed documents for clearance. This means that they must show the phytosanitary and health certificates, plus other specific documents requested at the customs. All the import and export requirements for trading companies in Turkey can be explained by one of our attorneys in Turkey at any time.
Turkey is extremely appealing from a business point of view and provides the proper climate for international entrepreneurs with import and export activities, sustained by excellent infrastructure, fast formalities and varied trade agreements with important economic organizations. Foreign investors interested in Turkey’s trading sector can ask for legal advice from our team of attorneys.

A growing economy in the recent years

Turkey’s economy has grown in the recent years and became more diversified, based on the exports to European and Asian countries. A wide range of goods were exported, such as: clothes, cars, electronics, agricultural products, iron, oil, tobacco etc. After the beginning of the economic crisis, Turkey extends its exports to countries in Africa and Asia and from the Organization of Islamic Countries. The exports to the countries of OIC raised by 50% in 2008 and exports to Iraq increased by 75% at the beginning of 2009. Turkey is considered an emerging market according to the International Monetary Fund and one of the newly industrialized countries, among the leaders for agricultural products and transportation equipment. This country has an important private sector, but the public sector is well represented in industry, transport and banking. According to recent statistics and information for Turkey, around 200 important items which took the export road in 2018 worth approximately USD 140.4 billion. 

If you are interested in opening a company in Turkey and do business in exports or imports, you can call our Turkish lawyers for assistance and guidance.