The FINANCIAL — Trade volume in Turkey’s free trade zones fell by 27.8 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year, totaling $17.8 billion.
"Taking a serious hit from the global economic crisis, a general decline was seen in all sectors and countries in trade carried out in free trade zones," Today's Zaman says.
According to a report by the Anatolia news agency, only the Kocaeli Free Zone and the Scientific and Technology Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) MAM Technology Zone saw an increase in trade volume during this period despite the crisis.
The Kocaeli Free Zone enjoyed a 14.94 percent increase in 2009 over 2008, reaching a trade volume of $810.65 million. Trade from commerce in the TÜBİTAK MAM Technology Zone also rose to $164.83 million, accounting for a 47.54 percent increase.
The İstanbul Leather Free Trade Zone had the highest level of trade volume among all the free trade zones in Turkey. Trade volume in this zone, however, decreased by 35.56 percent last year over 2008, falling to $3.87 billion. The trade volume in the Ege Free Trade Zone totaled $2.66 billion, while this figure was $2.96 billion in the free trade zone at İstanbul Atatürk Airport.
Last year, trade with countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union in Turkey’s free trade zones declined by 29.8 and 14.99 percent, respectively, compared to 2008. Trade with OECD and EU member countries in free trade zones last year totaled $6.38 billion. Trade with South African and Middle Eastern countries, on the other hand, rose by 8.5 percent during the same period.
The employment level in free trade zones overall also suffered a 12.95 percent decline from 2008 to 2009, decreasing to 44,083.