According to the leading data of the Ministry of Commerce for August, foreign trade increased in August; It had a deficit of 8.9 billion dollars, decreasing by 27.4 percent compared to July and 21.2 percent compared to August last year. While Turkey's exports increased by 1.6 percent to 21.6 billion dollars in August, imports decreased by 6.3 percent to 30.5 billion dollars. When looked at since the beginning of the year, the foreign trade deficit increased by 12.1 percent to 82.4 billion dollars. Thus, our exports seem to have reached 165 billion dollars. We have to accept that as of August, our exports in the last 12 months increased by 1.2 percent and reached 253.5 billion dollars.
In August, imports decreased by 6.3 percent to 30.5 billion dollars. Energy imports decreased by 27.8 percent in the same period, reaching 46.5 million dollars. Although the total imports in the January-August period seem to have increased by 3.5 percent compared to the same period of the previous year, reaching 247.3 billion dollars, an important item of this is unprocessed gold imports, which reached 23 billion dollars in 8 months.
In the light of these figures, it is possible to make the following evaluations regarding our foreign trade, especially exports:
Despite the major earthquake disaster that occurred in our country on February 6, it is a matter that should be appreciated that the country's economy recovered quickly and that our people and the businesses run by those people continued production and increased their exports to 165 billion dollars in the January-August period.
Although the blow of the Russia-Ukraine War to international trade and transportation has still caused a serious trade loss in the region, Turkey, as a country in the region, seems to have continued to maintain its current commercial positions.
The rise in energy prices at the global level and the negativity in future expectations have led to a stagnant production level in the world; This has narrowed the global trade volume. It would not be realistic to expect a major export boom in such periods.
The recession experienced all over the world caused a decrease in commodity prices; Therefore, high energy and labor costs have begun to challenge their competitiveness.
In such periods, it is inevitable to experience serious problems in the export of low value-added products. When viewed from this perspective, it is pleasing that the share of medium-high and high-tech product exports in manufacturing, which was 36.9 percent in 2022, increased to 40.6 percent in the 8 months of this year.
Although the decline in energy prices, on which we depend on imports, is pleasing, it seems that it is difficult to achieve good prices in this regard unless the Russia-Ukraine War ends.
“Why is unprocessed gold so demanded?” I recommend a Grand Bazaar tour to those who ask. Our middle-class people, who want to preserve their current assets due to high inflation, sell the jewelery they carry in bags and bundles to the Grand Bazaar shopkeepers and buy unprocessed gold cut with scissors in return. The reason is very simple: While raw gold protects itself against inflation, jewelry cannot serve the same function.
DETAILS THAT I HAVE DIFFICULTY UNDERSTANDING
Sometimes I think, "Am I too focused on details and can't see the general truth?" But when the interests of our businesses that have to compete on a global level are at stake, I feel obliged to look at the details as well as the whole picture, as "the devil is in the details".
If you wish, let us clarify the issue through a newly published regulation:
The Technical Regulations Regime Decision No. 6038 dated 14.09.2022, prepared based on the Product Safety and Technical Regulations Law No. 7223 dated 03.2020, enters into force by being published in the Official Gazette dated 15.09.2022. However, the "Regulation on Technical Regulations in Foreign Trade" prepared for the implementation of this law and decision will come into force eleven months later by being published in the Official Gazette dated 16.08.2023. It is unknown why it took so long.
In the "Regulation on Technical Regulations and Standardization in Foreign Trade", which was abolished by the said regulation, it was stated that "Ministry: refers to the Ministry of Economy...", in the new regulation, "Ministry: refers to the Ministry of Commerce...". It is not clear whether there were any traders who looked for the Ministry of Economy in the interim period by looking at the provisions of the old regulation.
The TAREKS system, which is defined in the new Regulation as "Risk-Based Control System in Foreign Trade (TAREKS): It refers to the internet-based application established for the purpose of carrying out the audit, compliance and permit transactions carried out in accordance with the product safety and technical regulations legislation in an electronic environment and on a risk-based basis", has been in effect since 2011. Although there is no definition and provision regarding this in the old Regulation, it is not known whether this has created a problem in the conduct and monitoring of inspections.
In Article 5/1 of the New Regulation, "Legislative compliance and commercial quality inspections of agricultural and food products deemed necessary for export are carried out by trade inspectors working in the product safety inspection directorates of the Ministry's regional directorates, in accordance with the procedures and principles to be determined by the Ministry." While it is stated in the 3rd article of the old Regulation, "Compulsory standard and commercial quality controls of the items deemed necessary among the items subject to export are carried out by the Product Inspectors working in the Product Inspector Group Presidencies of the Ministry's Regional Directorates, in accordance with the procedures and principles to be determined by the Ministry." appears to be said. In this interim period, it is not clear whether the traders were looking for a "product inspector" or a "trade inspector" for inspection.
In order not to fall behind in global competition, it seems inevitable that the legislative, executive bodies and bureaucratic levels of each country work in a coordinated and simultaneous manner.