Trade growth is a priority for Turkey’s government, which has ratified the highest number of UN trade and transport facilitation and security conventions in the region. The effective implementation of these UN multilateral instruments, coupled with public-private partnership initiatives led by the Turkish Union of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) to improve border crossings, has significantly contributed to the development of foreign trade by increasing the efficiency of border crossing procedures. Border waiting times, which formerly took hours if not days, have decreased to minutes.

Turkey has also recognized that road transport drives its trade, and it has taken significant measures to strengthen the Turkish international road transport industry. As a result, the Turkish road transport industry is arguably the strongest of the entire region, accounting for 41.7 percent of Turkey’s exports and 23.6 percent of imports. Turkey is consequently the world’s biggest user of the facilitation and security provided by the TIR System.

These concerted efforts to facilitate trade and, by extension, international road transport, have increased Turkey’s exports by 310 percent over the past 10 years, according to a Republic of Turkey Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Country Report (October 2011). Imports have increased by 340 percent, according to the same report, making Turkey the ninth fastest growing economy of the world with an 8.5 percent gross domestic product growth rate.