Successive Greek Cypriot administrations have been successful in restricting markets for TRNC goods. They have ensured that non-recognition has pushed TRNC suppliers to focus on nearby markets that are willing to stand up to Greek Cypriot threats.
Citrus fruits are a major export for the TRNC and currently 80% of these go to Iraq with the remaining 20% going to Turkey.
The huge EU markets are closed to the TRNC since the Greek Cypriots gained membership.
However in the case of citrus fruits, TRNC exporters would struggle to make inroads into EU markets because of quality issues.
Hellim exports follow a similar pattern with 50% going to the Middle East and 50% to Turkey.
Again it would be hard though not impossible to enter EU markets though this would involve offloading products in Turkey for onward transportation to the EU. This is costly and time consuming.
Currently 300 trucks a month arrive from Turkey with imports for the TRNC. In contrast the TRNC sends 10 trucks a month to Turkey with exports.
Embargoes have also wiped out sea transportation.
There are currently 21 vessels flying the TRNC flag according to Ship Owners’ Association head, Mustafa Cansuri. He points out that non recognition means that these vessels can only ply their cargo between the TRNC and Turkey.
To become registered under another national flag involves a great deal of paper work and expenses of at least US$15,000, according to Mr Cansuri.
60% of imports come into the TRNC through Kyrenia harbour. Mr Cansuri feels that this is because importers avoid Famagusta harbour where the customs office is stricter and the staff more experienced. Importers prefer to use Kyrenia new harbour because the customs there were set up to deal with tourism and do not closely monitor imports.