World Bulletin / News Desk
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's three important visits to Turkey during the last year reflected credit on bilateral trade, said head of Foreign Economic Relations Board's (DEIK) Turkey-Venezuela Business Council.
Turkey's exports to Venezuela rose 108.3 percent to $37.5 million in 2017 versus the previous year, and imports from Venezuela jumped by 78.6 percent to $116.5 million in the same period, Selim Bora told Anadolu Agency.
"Turkey has an advantage because Venezuela needs imports almost in all sectors. If Venezuela resolves its currency problem, Turkey may export food, automotive, machinery, construction, chemical, medicine and consumer goods to the country," he said.
He noted that the private sector in Venezuela had difficulties to access foreign currencies and the country's government persists in using its cryptocurrency "petro" in imports but petro is not an instrument of payment yet.
"Barter trade is a method that could help access foreign currencies and financing imports," Bora stressed.
He added: "The process was started between two countries for basic products, and it was agreed that barter trade will be used by companies."
While bilateral trade between two countries were $803.6 million in the 5-year period -- 2013-2017 --, it reached $892.4 million in the first five months of 2018, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.
Turkey's exports to Venezuela were $58.2 million and imports $834.2 million in the 5-month-period. Imports were mostly precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, pearls, imitation jewelry, coins, mineral fuels, iron and steel products, and mineral waxes.
Within the scope of Maduro's first official visit in October 2017, two countries signed several agreements in several areas including economic and commercial cooperation, security, air transportation, agricultural cooperation, tourism and civil aviation.
In May, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that bilateral trade will reach $2 billion by the end of 2018.
Meanwhile, Venezuela's Mining Minister Victor Cano has stated that two countries central banks signed an agreement to process Venezuela's gold in Turkey.