Turkey is one of the largest trade partners of Georgia and these relations are being further enhanced
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On 23 May 2017, a meeting was held between Georgia’s and Turkey’s Ministers of Economy. Parties mulled the important issues of trade and economic relations between the two counties. The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia stated at the meeting: “Republic of Turkey has been one of the largest trading partners of Georgia for the last few years. Of Georgia’s total trade turnover, the share of Turkey is 16%, which serves as a proof that volume of bilateral trade is characterized with the trend of growth. According to the data of the first four months of 2017, Georgia’s export to Turkey reached USD 76 million, which is 19% more as compared to the figure registered in the same period of the previous year. Turkey occupies the 3rd place among Georgia’s largest trade partners in terms of exports.”

FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

According to the data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, Turkey has been one of Georgia’s largest trade partners in the past years. The types of goods exported from Georgia to Turkey in largest volumes are:  hosiery, wheat and meat, fish, electricity and carbon steel sticks (so called rebar). The types of goods, imported from Turkey to Georgia in largest volumes are: black metal constructions, medications, pipes and tubes from black metal, insulated cables and wires, sanitary and hygienic products etc.

In regard to share of Georgia-Turkey trade turnover in Georgia’s total trade turnover, it has fluctuated between 12.7% and 17.2% in 2010-2017. The figure reached 17.2% in 2014 and dropped to 12.6% by 2016. According to January-April 2017 figures, share of Georgia-Turkey trade turnover is 14.6% of Georgia’s total trade turnover. The 16% mentioned by the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, was registered only in 2010 and 2011.

 

Table 1: Georgia-Turkey Trade Turnover and its Share in Georgia’s Total Trade Turnover

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 Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

 

As compared to 2016, Georgia’s export to Turkey has been increased by 19%. However, there is no stable growth in terms of exports throughout the past few years. On the contrary, the volume of export dropped by 22% and 7% respectively in 2015 and 2016.

 

Table 2: Georgia’s Export to Turkey and Export Growth Rate

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Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia

 

According to the data of the four months of 2017, volume of Georgia’s export to Turkey did indeed reach USD 76 million, whilst the volume of Georgia’s export to Turkey in January-April of 2016 was USD 64 million. Therefore, this year’s figure is 18.75% more as compared to the same period of the previous year.

According to the data of January-April 2017, Georgia’s largest trade partners in terms of exports are: Russia (USD 125 million), China (USD 78 million) and Turkey (USD 76 million).

 

Conclusion

Giorgi Gakharia has made partially incorrect statements in regard to Georgia-Turkey trade relations. Republic of Turkey has been one of Georgia’s largest trade partners in the past years. As of January-April 2017 data, Georgia’s trade turnover with Turkey is 14.6% of Georgia’s total trade turnover, whilst that figure was 16% only in 2010 and 2011.

Since 2014, Georgia’s trade volume with Turkey has been declining and not vice versa. The figure of Georgia’s exports to Turkey this year has been increased by 19%, although there is no trend of stable growth in terms of export as well. In 2015-2016, Georgia’s export to Turkey dropped significantly.

The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development has provided precise figures whilst comparing the data of January-April 2017 to the same period of the previous year.

FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Gakharia’s statement is HALF TRUE.

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