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Foreign Trade

At the beginning of the 1990s, the "TRNC" traded with more than sixty countries around the world. Among these trading partners were members of the EC, countries of the Middle East, the United States, Japan, and numerous other countries in Africa and Asia. Lack of recognition of the "TRNC" and the economic and political blockade imposed by the Republic of Cyprus made it difficult for the "TRNC" to establish direct and regular sea and air links with countries other than Turkey. The blockade could be circumvented, however, by trading through international companies.

The Turkish Cypriot economy suffered from a chronic trade deficit. During the 1980s, imports often exceeded imports by margins of three and four to one, and in some years, 1989 for example, the ratio was even worse (see table 20, Appendix). More than half the imports were of manufactured goods; the Turkish Cypriot economy had a small manufacturing sector. Foods, fuels, and chemicals accounted for most of the remaining imports.

Turkey was by far the main source of imports (see table 21, Appendix). In the late 1980s, Turkey supplied roughly two-fifths of total imports. Countries of the EC supplied one-third, half of which came from Britain. The Far East was the source of most of the remainder.

The most important customer for Turkish Cypriot goods in the late 1980s was Britain, which took about two-thirds notably citrus fruits and vegetables. The other EC countries bought a much smaller share, and Turkey accounted for 12 to 17 percent between 1986 and 1989. The Middle East fluctuated widely in its share of Turkish Cypriot exports, buying 10.2 percent in 1986 and 3.6 percent in l988. The Far East purchased virtually no Turkish Cypriot goods.

The government attempted to stimulate trade by various means, including liberal tax concessions and the free exchange of foreign currency. The establishment of a free port and zone at Famagusta in late 1977 was another government initiative to boost foreign trade. To make business in the free port attractive to investors, the government exempted income from activities there from corporate and income taxes. Imports into the free port and zone were also exempt from duties and tolls. Import duties elsewhere in the "TRNC" could be onerous. Furthermore, profits and capital from the free port and zone could be repatriated without limit. In addition to these highly competitive concessions, the area's infrastructure was suitable for all kinds of manufacturing, processing, and construction activities.

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The Republic of Cyprus and its ministries, departments, and banks publish a variety of statistical reports that provide useful economic information, usually with a one- to two-year time lag. Particularly relevant are the Annual Reports of the Central Bank of Cyprus, the Economic Reports of the Department of Statistics and Research, Ministry of Finance; the Annual Reports of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority and of the Cyprus Electricity Authority; and the special reports of the Cyprus Development Bank on issues such as "Consumption Expenditures in Cyprus" and "The Cyprus Economy."

Other noteworthy reports and studies include reports from the International Trade Administration of the United States Department of Commerce (prepared by the American Embassy in Nicosia), which summarize major economic trends, especially those pertinent to the United States economy. The Economist Intelligence Unit's Country Report: Lebanon, Cyprus and Country Profile: Lebanon, Cyprus offer quarterly and annual analyses, respectively, of economic and political trends in Cyprus. A monograph by John Hudson and Marina Dymiotou-Jensen, Modelling a Developing Country, gives, among other things, a brief and expert account of the government's planning process.

The sources most readily available for those wishing to know more of the economy of the "TRNC" are published by Europa Publications Ltd. The Europe World Year Book and The Middle East and North Africa, for example, will provide much basic information. North Cyprus Almanack, published by K. Rüstem and Brother in London, treats a number of aspects of the Turkish Cypriot economy. The State Planning Organisation of the "TRNC" publishes annual comprehensive economic statistics. These are available at "TRNC" offices around the world. (For information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of January 1991

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