Some 'funny business' going in Turkey-UAE gold trade - columnist
The current spat with the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) most senior diplomat should be cause enough for Turkey to investigate the strange gold trade between the two countries, columnist Alaattin Aktaş said in economics-focused newspaper Dünya.
Aktaş is referring to a recent row that began when UAE Foreign Minister Prince Abdullah bin Zayed retweeted a post claiming Fahreddin Pasha, the Ottoman governor of Medina between 1916 and 1919, had committed crimes against local Arabs and stolen their property.
Aktaş said Turkey responded rightfully by harshly refuting these claims, with the opposition backing the stance of the government.
The Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, as a reaction, decided to change the name of the street where the UAE embassy is located, to Fahreddin Paşa Street.
“But changing the name of the street shouldn’t be the only way to disturb the UAE,” Aktaş said. “Turkey has a big and important economic trump card against this country: the infamous gold trade.”
Noting that gold trade with the UAE has been questionable for some time, Aktaş holds its high time to take action to look into it.
Turkey’s exported to the UAE in the first ten months of the year total 8.3 billion US dollars and 61 percent of this amount – which is valued at 5.1 billion dollars – is gold.
Turkey’s imports from this country in the first ten months were worth 4.8 billion dollars and 90 percent of this amount, a total of 4.3 billion dollars worth, was in gold.
So, Turkey has exported 5.1 billion dollars worth of gold to the UAE - 83 percent of our total gold exports.
Meanwhile, the 4.3 billion dollars worth of gold imports from the UAE comprises 31 percent of Turkey’s total gold imports.
“Turkey has a great trump card, there is a weird trade taking place. Go and investigate it,” Aktaş said, adding, “Because someone is doing some funny business, we are both buying and selling the bar gold of around the same customs tariff statistical position.”
“In ten months, for every gold bar that we sold for 100 dollars, we bought it back from the UAE for 84 dollars. It seems like we bought it at a cheaper rate and sold it for a more expensive price. In this case, this is the question comes to mind: Why is the UAE not buying gold from other countries, but from us?
“Is someone evading tax? As stated before, the gold that we sell and buy is registered as bar gold, which is free of tax in the customs tariff,” Aktaş added.
“Or are we creating new (Reza) ‘Zarrabs’?”