Turkey is a developing country with a strong geographical position linking Europe and Asia. In terms of exports and imports, Turkey is in the world’s top 30. The EU-Turkey Customs Union governs the EU Member States’ trading relationship with Turkey. Overall, the US-Turkey trade has more potential since the EU-Turkey ties are stronger. To make it easier to import from Turkey, we have gathered information about customs formalities and shipping from Turkey to the EU and the US.
Import from Turkey – products
The EU is Turkey’s largest trade partner. Turkey has been a candidate to join the European Union since 1999 and it has some privileges when it comes to trade with the EU. Turkey exports mainly to:
- Germany (over 9% of total imports)
- the United Kingdom
- the United States
Top Turkey’s exports are:
- cars ($12.7B)
- refined petroleum ($6.63B)
- delivery trucks ($4.99B)
- jewelry ($4.98B)
- vehicle parts ($4.93B).
Shipping goods from Turkey
There are two ways of shipping cargo from Turkey to the EU Member State and the US: by sea and air. There is also train and road freight in terms of shipping to the EU.
Sea freight from Turkey
The most affordable way of shipping goods on long distances is sea/ocean freight. You can choose FCL or LCL transportation (Full Container Load or Less than Container Load).
Shipping time from Turkey to the US by sea is 14-19 days (transit time – up to seven weeks), from Turkey to European ports – even less. As for shipping lines, you can choose, for example:
Airfreight from Turkey
If you import perishable or luxurious goods, the best option is air freight. Although it is the most expensive mean of transportation (around five times more expensive than sea freight), the transit time is very short (several days). You can use FedEx, Lufthansa Cargo, or Turkish Cargo services to ship goods from Turkey to the EU or the US by air.
Land freight from Turkey to the European Union
The EU Member States are connected with Turkey by land. It means that you can ship goods by road or by rail. When it comes to shipping by truck, the possibilities are almost endless. Rail connection between some of the Member States of the European Union and Turkey offers the Rail Cargo Group. From Köseköy and Istanbul, you can move goods to Budapest, Vienna, Hamburg, and more locations. The route takes around a week.
Some of the intermodal freight operators in the Turkey-the EU Member States relations are:
- Ekol Logistics
- Rail Cargo Group
- UN Ro-Ro
- Europe Intermodal.
Import from Turkey to the European Union
Duty on products imported from Turkey to Europe
Since Turkey and the whole EU is in one Customs Union, there are very few tariff barriers. The only goods that are not subject to the customs union rules are un-processed agricultural products and those that fell under the ECSC Treaty: coal and steel. In order to get the product’s HS code, search for the product in the TARIC.
Top imported products from Turkey to the EU with the customs duties and HS code:
- Vehicles, with only spark-ignition internal combustion reciprocating piston engine of a cylinder capacity not exceeding 1 000 cm3 (8703 21 10) – 0%
- Refrigerators, household type, compression type 8418 29 00 10) – 0%
- Men’s or boys’ hand-made jerseys, pullovers (with or without sleeves) made of cashmere (6110 12 10 10) – 0%
Note: Until 26 of May 2026, there is an anti-subsidy on trout (certain rainbow) imported from Turkey to the EU Member States. The additional duty is 9.5%.
Import from Turkey to the EU – customs clearance
Since the EU-Turkey customs union is in force, Turkey has access to the free movement of some goods. To reap the benefits of the agreement, you have to provide an A.TR movement certificate. In terms of agriculture products, coal, and steel, you have to provide certificates EUR-MED, EUR1, or an invoice declaration.
Apart from that, you need a set of documents to import from Turkey to the EU:
- a commercial invoice
- packing list (P/L) – list containing the specification of shipped goods
- bill of lading (or other consignment notes)
- value declaration.
To import a certain type of goods, you need:
- documents related to the New Approach Directives
- CITES certificate for the import of specimens of fauna and flora
- certificate of fumigation issued by customs or phytosanitary authorities
- other certificates, documents, and licenses.
Import from Turkey to the US
Import from Turkey to the US – customs tariffs
On the Harmonized Tariff Schedule website, you can check the duty rates imposed on products imported into the US. The HTS code for every product group is based on the international Harmonized System. Each HTS code has its customs duty rate. The duty on products from Turkey is indicated in the General Rates of Duty.
Top imported products from Turkey to the US with HTS code and duty rate:
- Aircraft turbines of a thrust not exceeding 25 kN (8411.11.40) – 0%
- Certified hand-loomed and folklore carpets and rugs (5702.10.10) – 0%
- Motor cars and other motor vehicles – golf carts (8703.10.50.30) – 2.5%
Import from Turkey to the US – customs clearance
The basic set of documents for import from Turkey to the US is not much different from the one needed on the EU market:
The following documents are needed when importing specific products:
- import licenses
- certificate of origin
- phytosanitary certificates.
Import from Turkey – to sum up
- Turkey’s largest trade partners are Germany, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Italy, and the United States.
- Top Turkey’s exports are cars, refined petroleum, and jewelry.
- When importing from Turkey to the EU Member State, the most important thing is to provide the A.TR movement certificates to get the relief of duties.
- The basic set of documents needed for import from Turkey is a commercial invoice, packing list, and bill of lading.