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Since 1980, Turkish import regulations have been successively arranged to liberalize import policy. The basic aims of this policy are:
- Reduction of protectionist measures while seeing that they comply with the new GATT rules.
- Harmonization of customs tariffs and regulations with the EU for the Customs Union started at the beginning of 1996,
- Reduction of bureaucratic procedures,
- Securing the supply of raw materials and intermediary goods at suitable prices within certain quality standards.

Between 1980-93 imports increased from $7.9 billion US to $29.4 billion US showing an approximately four-fold increase.

But as a result of the sudden increase of exchange rates in April 1994 a recession in imports was observed with a drop of 20.9% compared to the previous year. In 1994 Turkish imports came to $23.2 billion US. In the first ten months of 1995, imports reached $27.8 billion US.

In distribution of imports by sector, industrial products took the lion's share achieving a 82% share in 1994 with a value of $19.0 billion US. In the mentioned sector a 22.8% drop was seen in comparison with 1993. On the other hand, mining products took a 12.8% share with a value of US $2.9 billion in which a 2.4% decrease has been realized. Imports in the agricultural sector also showed a sharp decrease of 27.5 %. The $1.2 billion US of agricultural imports took a 5.2% share of total imports.

Among Turkey's imports, raw materials have always been the majority among all commodity groups. In 1994 raw materials took a 58.4% share of the total imports with a value of $13.6 billion US . This group is followed by investment goods, which had a 29.6% share and consumer goods which took a 11.9% share of the total. In 1994 imports of consumer goods showed a 32.5% drop from 1993's record level of $4.1 billion US to $2.7 billion US . Similarly, imports of investment goods decreased to $6.8 billion US showing a 27.9% change in comparison to 1993.

As for product groups, machines & mechanical equipment (16.1%) chemicals and chemical products (13.3 %), crude petroleum (10.9 %) iron & steel (8.5 %), electrical machinery and equipment (7.8 %), textiles and motor vehicles, parts and accessories are among the major import goods of Turkey.

In 1994, as in past years, the OECD countries took the lion's share of total imports with a 65.8% share coming to $15.3 billion US. This group is followed by the Islamic Countries with a 14.4% share totaling $3.3 billion US.

The European Union accounted for a 44.2% share of total imports with $10.2 billion US. Four of the EU members are among the top ten suppliers (Germany, Italy, France, United Kingdom). As on the exports side Germany is the number one source of Turkish imports.

For the Customs Union Turkey made the necessary customs reductions. In 1996 Turkey's customs union with the EU began by abolishing the customs' tariffs between the two parties and by adopting the common tariff rates for third countries.

Apart from the EU, among other OECD members the USA with $2.4 billion US is the second most important source with 10.4% share. Japan with its 4.2% share is another important supplier.

In the Middle East Saudi Arabia and Iran retain their importance by entering among the top ten countries supplying Turkey's imports.

Russia and Ukraine are also important suppliers to Turkey among the New Independent States. Nevertheless, some East European, Asian and North African Countries tend to be alternative suppliers for Turkey.

Source: State Institute of Statistics

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