Turkish exporters circumvent unofficial Saudi boycott

Some Turkish exporters are re-routing food, clothing and other goods to circumvent a months-long unofficial blockade by Saudi Arabia that has reduced trade between the regional rivals to record lows, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Turkish exporters obtain customs documents and ditch “Made in Turkey” product tags, allowing goods to enter Saudi Arabia, Reuters said, citing exporters, traders and a diplomat.

“A black market is now emerging where brokers take the Turkish goods to other ports and forge the documents so they appear to be coming from China or Europe for fees,” one importer of building materials told Reuters.

In October, Saudi authorities urged citizens to boycott Turkish-origin goods and services, ranging from imports and investments to tourism, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused some Gulf countries of favouring destabilising policies in the region.

Almost a month after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death, Erdoğan directly accused the kingdom’s top officials of murdering the journalist.

“We know that the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government,” Erdoğan said at the time.

However, Riyadh has not officially declared a boycott against Turkish goods.

In the meantime, Turkey complained about Saudi Arabia in a World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting over an unofficial Saudi boycott of Turkish goods, the organisation said.