Turkish business groups call for Saudi action to resolve trade problems

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s leading business groups urged Saudi Arabia on Saturday to take action to improve trade relations as Turkish firms encounter growing problems in doing business with the Gulf Arab state.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been at odds for some years over foreign policy and attitudes towards Islamist political groups. The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 sharply escalated tensions.

For more than a year, some Saudi and Turkish traders have speculated that Saudi Arabia was enforcing an informal boycott of imports from Turkey.

“Any official or unofficial initiative to block trade between the two countries will have negative repercussions on our trade relations and be detrimental to the economies of both countries,” eight Turkish business groups, including textile exporters and contractors, said in a statement on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia’s government media office has said authorities have not placed any restrictions on Turkish goods.

Last week, however, Ajlan al-Ajlan, the head of Saudi Arabia’s non-governmental Chambers of Commerce, called for a boycott of Turkish products in response to what he called continued hostility from Turkey.

“We deeply regret the discriminatory treatment that our companies face in Saudi Arabia…We expect Saudi authorities to take concrete initiatives to resolve the problems,” said the business groups, which included the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), exporters’ assembly TIM and the chambers and commodity exchanges union (TOBB).

Reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Ros Russell

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