Turkey is the world's 20th largest economy, with a young population of 84 million. Turkey has grown faster than most emerging markets over the past decade, but growth has since 2018 slowed slightly. Turkish economy achieved a modest expansion in the previous year, despite the effects of the Corona-pandemic. The Turkish market can constitute a bridge to the markets of the Middle East, South Caucasus and Central Asia.
Turkey is part of a customs union within the EU since 1996, meaning that industrial products and refined agricultural products are exempt from customs tariffs (agriculture, services and public procurement are however not part of the customs union agreement). Through the customs union, Turkey is a production platform that is integrated with the EU. The incentives for foreign investments such as free-zones for production are generous. Companies such as Hyundai, Renault and Toyota as well as Swedish Autoliv have located substantial production plants and assembly facilities in Turkey, which primarily cater to the European market. The Turkish textile industry is also an advanced sub-contractor to the global garment industry.
Swedish business presence and trade with Turkey
The bilateral trade volume between Sweden and Turkey has shown an annual increase of 4% and realized as 26 billion SEK in 2020. Sweden was Turkey’s 29th largest trade partner in terms of exports and 25th largest trade partner in terms of imports in 2020.
The Swedish exports to Turkey increased by 13% compared to 2019 and amounted to 14.8 billion SEK in 2020, comprising 1% of Sweden's total exports. The main Swedish export goods to Turkey are telecommunications equipment, iron ore, paper and pulp. Swedish imports from Turkey in 2020 amounted to 11.1 billion SEK, constituting 1% of total imports to Sweden. The main import goods from Turkey are various industrial products namely motor vehicles parts, textiles, machinery, electrical equipment and mining ores.
Since the 1990s, Swedish businesses have been increasingly interested in the Turkish market and Turkey is today home and a business hub to more than 125 Swedish companies – Ericsson, TeliaSonera, Autoliv, Securitas, H&M, Sandvik, Lindex and IKEA amongst others. Additionally, more than 400 Swedish companies have distributors/agents in Turkey.
Swedish companies in Turkey are mainly concentrated in health and life science, information and communications technology, industrial equipment and vehicles, transport systems, energy and environmental technology, food, safety security, maritime, retail, packaging, utilities, mining, wood, construction and chemical sectors.