Business Activities in Turkey

The legal framework between Switzerland and Turkey

The following arrangements define the legal framework of the economic relations between Switzerland and Turkey:

  • Bilateral Agreement on Agriculture (2018)
  • Modernized Free Trade Agreement EFTA-Türkiye (2018) 
  • Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (valid as of 01/2013)
  • EFTA Protocol E (Mutual Recognition of Conformity Assessment of Products) (2011) 
  • Memorandum of Understanding in Energy Cooperation (2009) 
  • Memorandum of Understanding on High Level Commercial and Economical Consultation (2002) 
  • Memorandum of Understanding of Joint Economic Commission (2001) 
  • Agreement on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investment (1988) 
  • Agreement on the Organization of Commercial Exchange and Payments (1942)

An overlook on bilateral trade

The agreement on Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments, the EFTA-Türkiye Free Trade Agreement as well as the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement provides a favourable legal framework for bilateral trade and economic activities between Switzerland and Türkiye.

The total trade volume of goods in 2020 between Türkiye and Switzerland reached $7.4 billion, whereby Türkiye’s share is $1.1 billion and Switzerland’s share $6.3 billion (excluding gold).  This results in an increase of 822% since the ratification of the Free Trade Agreement in 1992. In terms of trade in services, Switzerland exported services worth of $739 million and imported $833 million  in 2020. Looking at the pre pandemic period, the volume of services exported to Türkiye from Switzerland have been higher compared to services from Türkiye to Switzerland. Although the trade balance between Türkiye and Switzerland is in favour of the later, Swiss tourists and the remittances of Turkish citizens living in Switzerland, which is 68’000 as well as Swiss investments in this country offset a part of this gap.

Tourism is another important economic activity between the two countries The number of Swiss travelling to Türkiye reached a peak of 324’849 visitors in 2013. Despite the pandemic period in 2020, Türkiye welcomed around 128’000 Swiss tourists in while most of them entered Türkiye in Antalya. Several daily scheduled commercial flights connecting three Swiss airports to Istanbul as well as several seasonal charter flights to the Mediterranean coasts of Türkiye provide a rich alternative to travellers between the two countries.

Swiss investments

Switzerland is an important foreign investor in Türkiye. According to the Turkish National Bank, the Swiss direct investments in Türkiye were about $11.2 billion in 2020. By the end of 2019, Swiss investments have created 15’356 jobs in Türkiye.  Swiss investments are mainly concentrated on chemical and pharmaceutical industries in terms of goods yet being significantly outweighed by investments in services. In return, Turkish investments in Switzerland amounted to $229 million (2020).

The number of Swiss company setups in Türkiye in 2020 reached 28 despite the pandemic, compared to 44 in 2019.  With easing impacts of the pandemic on the economy and business, new Swiss setups in Türkiye have amounted to 38 for 2021 until the month of November.