Turkey eyes Africa to sidestep Russian sanctions

16 Dec '15
2 min read

Hit by Russian sanctions, Turkey's ready-to-wear exporters are eyeing new markets in Africa and diversify their client base to compensate for the losses due to Moscow's decision.

Hikmet Tanriverdi, head of the Istanbul Ready-Made Garment Exporters' Association (IHKIB), said at a press conference in Istanbul that the Russian sanctions caused several risks for both Turkish and Russian economies as the two countries have strong economic ties in such sectors as energy, food, and tourism, alongside the textile sector.

"Our textile export numbers with Russia have been already in decline for two years due to the falling ruble and the Ukraine crisis. We were planning to boost the textile export in 2016, but the Russian jet crisis has spiked our plans," Tanriverdi said.

Ties between Turkey and Russia have soured after the former shot down a Russian fighter plane on November 24 which Istanbul claims violated Turkish air space.

Following the incident, Russia introduced a range of sanctions ranging from restrictions on visa-free travel to a ban on imports of certain foodstuffs and textile products from Turkey.

"Until the political situation between Turkey and Russia clears up, we have decided to set new strategies to direct the textile exports (originally destined for) Russia to the African market," Tanriverdi said.

"We already have trade relations with Nigeria, and now we have some bilateral talks with Cameroon. We are also planning to reach six more countries and a market of 35 million people via Cameroon. I hope we will double the ready-to-wear exports to Africa in three years," Tanriverdi said.

The foreign trade volume between the Turkey and Russia reached $31.2 billion in 2014 - a 17.3 per cent increase from the previous year. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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