Let's examine in more detail which areas the Turkish-Chinese economic relations have developed and the importance of trade relations between the two countries.
The People's Republic of China is one of the countries in international relations that is referred to as the global power. Because China has a powerful economy, political force, and army. Located in far East Asia, China has commercial and political partnerships with almost every country around the world. China is known for its investments in foreign countries and fast-growing economy with its export of Chinese-origin products.
China-Turkey relations have been developing rapidly in different aspects since the 1970s. 'Friendship-based' diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries progress. In particular, high-level protocols and strategic partnership agreements between the two countries in recent years strengthen the relations. Strengthening and developing economic relations with global trade partner China is very important for Turkey. Also, Turkey is aware of this importance and follows policies with a multilateral economic partner model. This policy aimed at enhancing cooperation is the Asia Anew Initiative. The main aim of the Asia Anew Initiative is to develop economic cooperation, increase mutual investments and strengthen trade relations with Asian countries.
Let's examine in more detail which areas the Turkish-Chinese economic relations have developed. In addition, we will look into the importance of trade relations between the two countries.
Turkey-China relations are progressing within the framework of strong relations dating back a long time. The most important pillar of the strong relations between the two countries is undoubtedly economic relations. China is one of the countries with the strongest economy in the world in the Asia Pacific region. Turkey is the country that imports the most from China today. Therefore, Turkey is one of the most important and largest trade partners of China.
According to the data shared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China is Turkey's second-largest trading partner. Also, the trade volume between the two countries in 2021 is 35.9 billion dollars. The main products exported by Turkey are natural borate ores, marble, travertine, iron, chromium, other precious metal ores lead, zinc, copper, boron oxides, and boric acids.
Among the products Turkey imports from China are tools for receiving, converting, and transmitting audio-video. Additionally, there are other tools such as compressors, telephones for cellular/other, wireless networks, automatic data processing machines and units, and converters.
In recent years, an increase has been observed in the export rate of agricultural and livestock products to China. China demands cherries, grains, flour, starch, and pistachios the most. According to the data shared in 2022, white meat exports to China increased by 353% in the last 12 months. It reached a value of 61 million dollars. In addition, there is a notable increase in the export of dairy and water products to China.
The total trade volume between the two countries in the last five years has reached 100 billion dollars. Again in the last five years, the rate of investments from China to Turkey has increased by 120%. China's total investment in Turkey is approximately four billion dollars. Among the sectors of investments made are telecommunication, livestock, finance, energy, infrastructure, and mining. Marmaray, Eurasia Tunnel, Istanbul Airport, Çanakkale 1915 Bridge, and Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge are investments made by China in Turkey's transportation infrastructure.
Today, more than 1000 Chinese companies operate in Turkey. The Bank of China and ICBC Turkey are among the leading investors in the banking and finance sector. Also, Chinese smartphone manufacturer companies such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are among the important companies that invest in Turkey.
Turkey supports the Belt and Road Initiative, one of China's most comprehensive global initiatives. One of the reasons why Turkey supports this investment is Turkey's strategic location and its proximity to energy resources. China, on the other hand, being aware of Turkey's strategic importance, sees Turkey as a gateway to the Middle East, and North and Central Africa. Therefore, the Belt and Road Initiative is an important investment that will support the strengthening of bilateral trade relations between Turkey and China. Turkey has been working with China on the Belt and Road project for five years.
In 2015, bilateral agreements were signed between the two countries in order to harmonize the "Middle Corridor" project put forward by Turkey and the Belt and Road initiative. White goods were exported to China in 2020 from the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which is of critical importance for the Middle Corridor Project.
In many sector groups, the commercial and economic relations between the two countries continue to strengthen yearly. In 2019, a bilateral currency swap agreement was signed between the CBRT and the Central Bank of the People's Republic of China. The purpose of the swap agreement is to facilitate trade between the two countries in local currencies.
Relations between the two countries continue to progress positively in the tourism sector. The goal is to increase the number of Chinese tourists coming to Turkey from China to one million. Yearly increasing tourism enables the Turkish and Chinese peoples to get to know each other's culture, language, history, and values better.
2018 was declared Turkey Tourism Year in China. There was a recession in the tourism sector in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19. However, serious increases are expected in the number of tourists with the slowdown of the pandemic. In addition, in the health sector, especially during the Covid-19 period, vaccines and health equipment were provided from China to Turkey.
Finally, Turkey and China are two important trade partners that have maintained their political and economic relations for over 50 years. Trade agreements, economic investments, and cooperation in many sectors between the two countries are very important for the economies of both countries.