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By Gokhan Ergocun and Aysu Bicer
ISTANBUL/ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s exports amounted to $180.46 billion, up 2.04%, in 2019 compared to the previous year, the country’s trade minister said on Friday.
Ruhsar Pekcan said that despite all the hurdles in 2019, Turkey once again broke records in exports hitting a historical high.
"Last year, imports dropped 8.99% to reach $210.4 billion," she noted, adding that foreign trade deficit fell 44.9% from $54.3 billion to $29.9 billion.
Foreign trade made a record contribution of 4.7 points to the country's growth, the largest contribution seen in 18 years in Turkey.
The government supported exporters with 3.2 billion Turkish liras ($540 million) last year, she said, and added: "This is the largest figure for supporting exports in the history of the country. In 2020, we will raise this to 3.8 billion [Turkish] liras [$640 million]."
Referring to the global problems, she said uncertainties due to global trade wars, Brexit process and regional conflicts reduced the volume of global trade and growth.
"Turkey was one of the best performing countries in international trade in 2019," Pekcan said.
The country's services exports rose 10.3% to reach $46.6 billion, posting $28 billion services trade surplus in 2019, the minister said.
In 2019, the export/import coverage ratio was 85.8% in 2019, up from 76.5% in 2018, she added.
- Germany main destination for Turkish exports in 2019
In 2019, Turkey's exports of raw material -- intermediate goods -- were $85 billion, consumption goods $72.7 billion and capital goods $21.5 billion, according to a press release by the Trade Ministry.
Motor land vehicles was the largest export item of the country with $26.88 billion.
Germany was the main destination for Turkish exports with $16.6 billion, down 4.15% year-on-year in 2019, while the U.K. ($11.28 billion) and Iraq ($10.2 billion) followed it.
The country made most of its imports from Russia ($23.1 billion), Germany ($19.3 billion), China ($19.1 billion), the U.S. ($11.9 billion) and Italy ($9.3 billion) during the last year.
- December figures
Meanwhile, the country's exports rose 4.87% to reach $15.4 billion in December 2019, compared to the same month previous year.
Imports dropped 20.05% to stand at $20.1 billion year-on-year in December.
While Germany was the main destination for Turkey's exports with $1.3 billion in December, Russia remained to be the largest import source of Turkey with $2.3 billion.
The export/import coverage ratio was 76.5% in the month.