The Strategist

Turkey and China: Two Rising Powers

08/05/2015 - 14:48

The program of the visit of a large group, led by President Erdogan, covers China, Indonesia, Pakistan. Each of the stops during this tour is important, yet one in China is in the limelight of attention.

Turkey and China are two dissimilar countries. We are talking about a wide range of differences in political, social and cultural points of view. In addition, the views of China and Turkey on international political issues cannot be called the same.

Nevertheless, China is one of the countries from which Turkey imports the greatest number of products. It also comes to the fore in terms of attracting direct foreign investment. In this context, despite all the differences, China and Turkey can go side by side. And above all, giving priority to trade in the bilateral relations.

In the 1980s and 1990s, there was no active interaction between Turkey and China. However, with the rise of the two countries in economy in the noughties, and the initiation of a strategic partnership in 2010, the country has strengthened its economic relations.

Chinese and Turkish Economy

Year in and year out, China's economic strength is growing more and more noteworthy, as the country is becoming a key player in the global market. Representation of China as a global superpower since the global economic crisis of 2008 explains why China has played such a role. Despite the fact that under the influence of the crisis, China does not have such high rates of economic growth, as before, China will soon certainly become the largest economy in the world with an increase of 7-8%.

According to the data of 2014, the Chinese economy has moved into first place in the world in the terms of GDP at purchasing power parity (17.9 billion dollars), while the volume of GDP at current prices (10.3 trillion) is inferior only to the US. Turkey is one of the twenty largest economies in the world, with GDP in the amount of about $ 800 billion.

Yes, there is an enormous difference between China and Turkey in terms of GDP. Yet, if we turn to such indicators as per capita income, China, as the largest economy in the world, falls into the same group with Turkey - "a group of countries with an income above average."

At the same time, economic relations between the two countries, that have successfully coped with the global economic crisis, are determining differences in the structure of the economy. There is a huge gap between China's exports to Turkey and Turkey's exports to China. In 2014, Turkey's imports from China amounted to 24.9 billion dollars, while exports - only 2.8 billion. That is, Turkey's trade with China has a high trade deficit.

Nevertheless, it is impossible to cover the deficit by slamming the door in face of China. More active and strong presence of investors, businessmen, entrepreneurs (in those days accompanying President Erdogan) in the Chinese market would help to solve the problem of shortage. Otherwise, if we turn away from China - a country that supports global growth and leaves no doubt that its economy will overtake the US and become the largest - it would mean another imprisonment of the Turkish economy in unacceptable borders. And financing the trade deficit will help to attract investment from China, which is one of the leaders in foreign direct investment.

They have successfully survived the global economic crisis

The global economic crisis of 2008 changed all balances in the economy. In this process, which went to benefit the developing countries, we develop new forms of integration, in particular between the BRICS countries. Increasing trade relations with each other, the emerging economies such as Turkey and China, are also aimed at expanding its executive powers in the international institutions. Today, everyone more and more loudly speaks of the need of institutional alternatives that would be created by both countries.

The role of Turkey and China, that have successfully weathered the global economic crisis and maintained the momentum of stable economic growth, cannot be underestimated in this process of the emergence of new balances. The fate of two countries in the energy field, as well as a common goal of economic growth, can pave the way for an active trade and economic cooperation between Turkey and China. In addition, strategic planning will help make the export trade between the two countries more proportional.

On the one hand, Turkey is developing economic relations in the region, on the other - expanding trade  opportunities, not bypassing the integration processes among developing countries, with the participation of China. At the same time, focus on the Chinese consumer, whose income, as well as interaction with the outside world, increases daily, opens up a huge export market for Turkey. After all, Turkey has to find an alternative to continue its economic growth in the light of problems in the EU and in the Middle East.