Published On: Tue, Dec 20th, 2011

Turkey could cease chemical imports worth $ 2 billion from France

CHEMICALS_FRANCETurkey could cease chemical imports — expected to reach $2 billion this year — from France amid an ongoing political dispute with that country, Murat Akyuz, head of the Turkish Chemical Sector Platform (KSP), told Today’s Zaman on Monday in Istanbul, adding that the French side had confused political issues with bilateral trade.

Akyuz was speaking at a press meeting where he evaluated the latest developments in the sector along with representatives of the Turkish chemical industry. Mentioning a recent political clash with France due to a controversial piece of legislation, Akyuz said the private sector is uneasy with France using political issues as a tool against Turkey and that the chemical industry is ready to put in place some “indirect trade sanctions” against France.

The French parliament will vote this week on a controversial bill to criminalize the denial of Armenian claims that their ancestors were subject to genocide in Anatolia during World War I. Turkey earlier said it will immediately withdraw its ambassador in Paris if the French parliament passes the bill.

Akyuz said the government did not urge any sector to take action in this regard, but he added that the private sector is free to take the initiative to introduce some “indirect sanctions” on France. “Turkey has a noticeable share of French chemical exports. … We received chemical products worth $1.89 billion from France in the first 11 months of this year; we are among the top five chemical importers from that country,” he asserted.  Chemical imports from France are expected to reach $2 billion this year.

Turkey exported goods worth $8.2 billion to France last year. This number was $7.8 billion in the January-November period of this year. “We have no problem in switching our imports from France to such other countries as Italy and Germany in Europe or Saudi Arabia or Qatar in the Gulf. … We already have good trade relations with these countries,” Akyuz highlighted, adding that France fails to take such facts into consideration. He called on French politicians “not to let trade relations deteriorate at the expense of short-term political interests.” Akyuz also called on other businessmen to consider similar “sanctions” against the EU member, adding: “We do not have to wait for the bill to pass the French parliament. If they are determined to use this card against us, we will not hesitate to respond with all the tools available to us.”

As regards the chemical industry’s performance this year and expectations for 2012, Akyuz said the sector increased its share in total exports to 13 percent at $16 billion this year, adding that they expect this number to reach $18 billion in 2012.”


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