Feb 13 2019

Turkey triples exports to Venezuela in 2018

Turkey's exports to embattled Venezuela tripled in the past year, seeing a 223 percent rise compared to the previous year, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

Exports reach over $120 million in 2018 from $37.4 million in 2017, the agency said, citing data compiled by Anadolu Agency based on the Aegean Exporters Association.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is facing mounting international pressure to relinquish the presidency after the U.S. and a slew of other countries have called his rule illegitimate and recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido, head of the National Assembly, as Venezuela's interim president as internal discontent on the economy, and shortages of food and medicine soars.

Ankara has been an important backer for Maduro, supplying much needed basic goods including food amid shortages.

Pasta ($27.9 million), sunflower oil ($13.6 million), wheat flour ($7.9 million) and red lentil ($5 million) were among the most exported products to Venezuela, the agency said. 

Turkey's exports to Venezuela also rose by 411 percent to reach $8.96 million in January 2019, versus the same month of 2018, the agency quoted Mustafa Terci, the head of the Aegean Cereals, Pulses, Oil Seeds and Products Exporters Association, as saying.

Turkey can reach $200 million in exports to the country in 2019, he added.

Erdoğan on Tuesday said Turkey will make the small Anatolian town of Çorum the centre for processing Venezuelan gold despite U.S. sanctions. 

Turkey’s gold imports from the embattled country surged to almost $1 billion last year.