Turkey is a dynamically developing country, and its economy is based on industry and services. Its strength lies in its location between Europe and the Middle East. In terms of trade, we can observe a growth in vehicle, electronics, and petrochemical exports. While the EU-Turkey trade is thriving, and the US-Turkey trade has potential. In this article, we cover everything about import from Turkey to both the EU and the US.
Import from Turkey to the EU – products
Since 1999 Turkey has been a candidate to join the European Union. It has some privileges when it comes to trade with the EU.
Turkey is European Union’s sixth-largest trade partner. The EU is Turkey’s largest export and import partner. Total trade in goods in 2020 was over 132 mln EUR. The EU imported goods worth over 62 mln EUR.
Turkey exported to the EU in 2020 mainly:
- machinery and transportation equipment (38.5%)
- clothing, textiles (13.3%)
- agriculture and raw materials (8.5%).
The biggest growth in 2020 compared to the previous year was in:
- animal or vegetable fats and oils
- pearls, precious metals, and articles thereof
- animal or vegetable fats and oils
- mineral products.
Import from Turkey to the EU – customs tariffs
Customs Union that both the European Union and Turkey are part of covers most goods, except for agricultural products (un-processed), coal and steel products.
To check whether the good is included in the customs union rules, search for the product in the TARIC. After retrieving measures, you can see the tariffs.
Here is a list of selected goods imported from Turkey with the customs duties and HS code:
- Vehicles, with only spark-ignition internal combustion reciprocating piston engine of a cylinder capacity not exceeding 1 000 cm3 (8703 21 10) – 0%
- Refrigerators, household type, compression type 8418 29 00 10) – 0%
- Men’s or boys’ hand-made jerseys, pullovers (with or without sleeves) made of cashmere (6110 12 10 10) – 0%
- Women’s or girls’ suits, ensembles of cotton (6204 22 80 90) – 0%
- Storage heating radiators (8516 21 00 00) – 0%
- Line pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines longitudinally welded, of stainless steel (7306 11 10 00) – 0% non-preferential tariff quota (01-07-2021 – 31-12-2021)
Important! Till the 26 of May 2026, there is an anti-subsidy on trout (certain rainbow) imported from Turkey to the EU. The additional duty is 9.5%.
VAT and import from Turkey to the EU
Even though the customs duty is largely lifted, there is still an obligation to pay VAT on imports from Turkey. The VAT rate depends on the EU country you import goods into.
Import from Turkey to the EU – customs clearance
The EU and Turkey have been in a customs union since 1995. Free movement, meaning the elimination of quantitative restrictions and customs duties, is possible when importing only if you have an A.TR. movement certificate. Since there are preferential arrangements on agriculture, coal, and steel, you have to provide certificates EUR-MED, EUR1, or an invoice declaration.
Apart from the import certificate, when importing from Turkey to the EU, you also need:
- a commercial invoice
- packing list (P/L)– package list containing the specification of the transported goods
- bill of lading
- value declaration.
If you import a certain type of goods, you will need:
- CITES certificate for the import of specimens of fauna and flora
- certificate of fumigation issued by customs or phytosanitary authorities (wooden pallets)
- documents related to the New Approach Directives
- other certificates, documents, and licenses.
Import from Turkey to the US – products
Turkey is described as a small but growing US trading partner. It is US’ 32nd largest goods trading partner. The total trade in goods in 2019 was over 12.6 bn USD.
The top import categories in 2019 were:
- carpets and other textile coverings
- mineral fuels
- stone, plaster, cement.
When it comes to agricultural products from Turkey, the top ones are:
- processed fruit & vegetables
- snack foods
- fruit & vegetable juices
- other vegetable oils
Import from Turkey to the US – customs tariffs
You can easily check the duty rates imposed on chosen products imported into the United States on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule website. Each product category has its HTS code and customs duty rates. The duty on products from Turkey is indicated in the General Rates of Duty.
Here is a list of one of the most valued goods imported from Turkey to the US:
- Aircraft turbines of a thrust not exceeding 25 kN (8411.11.40) – 0%
- Certified hand-loomed and folklore carpets and rugs (5702.10.10) – 0%
- Motor cars and other motor vehicles – golf carts (8703.10.50.30) – 2.5%
- Articles of gold (7115.90.05.30) – 0%
- Anoraks (including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles (6188.8.131.52) – 7.1%
Import from Turkey to the US – customs clearance
The set of documents needed to import from Turkey to the US is similar to the one in the Turkey-the EU case.
To import goods from Turkey to the United States, you need to provide:
The following documents are needed when importing specific products:
- certificate of origin
- import licenses
- phytosanitary certificates.
Shipping from Turkey
There are multiple ways to ship products from Turkey to the EU and the US.
Train freight is an option when importing to the EU. Rail connections between some of the Member States and Turkey are offered by the Rail Cargo Group. From Köseköy and Istanbul, you can move the goods to, for example, Budapest, Vienna, and Hamburg. The route takes around a week.
Sea/ocean freight is the most affordable method of shipping goods.
Shipping lines like Maersk, MSC, ONE, and Hapag Lloyd ship to multiple European cities. The transit time is up to several weeks. For the details, check the website of the shipping company.
MSC ships from Gemlik in Turkey to, for example, Miami, Baltimore, Oakland, Long Beach, and New Orleans in the US. Maersk offers service from Istanbul to Newark (transit time: up to 3 weeks). Hapag Lloyd ships from Istanbul, Izmir, Gemlik, Mersin, and Iskenderun to Charleston, Port Everglades, Houston, Savannah, and Norfolk (transit time: up to 7 weeks).
You can get the ordered goods in a matter of days if you choose air freight. The disadvantage is that it is estimated that airfreight is about five times more expensive than sea freight. FedEx Express and Turkish Cargo provide services to Europe and North America.
Import from Turkey – to sum up
Importing from Turkey to the EU is a good business idea since the country is in the same Customs Union as the European Union. When trading, do not forget about the A.TR movement certificates to get the relief of duties.
In the case of importing from Turkey to the US, machinery, vehicles, and carpets are the most valued imports. Import from Turkey is getting more and more popular.
Would you like to import goods from other Asian countries? Read our import guides!
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