Partial Removal of Turkish Obstacle to Import of Armenian Goods?

12:08, 21 October, 2011

According to Mustafa Edib Yilmaz, business editor of the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman, the volume of trade between Armenia and Turkey today is considered to be around 400 million dollars, which is an  figure.

Yilmaz hopes that in the event of the borders opening, the volume of trade will increase to ten times this number.  Zumrut Imamoghlu, an expert at the center of economic and social research at Istanbul’s Bahçeşehir University, expressed feeling surprise upon learning that the import of goods from Armenia was prohibited.

Turkey does not prohibit this import officially, but the strict policies in place at Turkish customs points against Armenian importers make it pointless for them to try and bring any Armenian goods into the country.  Also, Turkey currently does not allow the entry of vehicles with more than 16 passenger seats into the country, if they have Armenian license plates.  This means that Armenians bringing goods from Turkey back home need to either use a number of vans, or use large buses with Turkish license plates, the likes of which regularly travel from Yerevan and back.  In both cases, the winner is Turkey.

Therefore, it is possible to say that the 400 million dollars of trade is, in reality, mostly one-way traffic.  However, based on information made available to Hetq, the two member countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization are currently in negotiations to move towards a simplified procedure to allow trade by up to 200 freight trucks annually, moving from Armenia through Georgia to Turkey and back.  An agreement to this effect exists between the BSEC members, but it has not yet been implemented due to a lack of diplomatic relations between the countries.