Saudi Arabia, in a new decision, has officially suspended purchasing animal products from Turkey, Turkish media reported Saturday, citing governmental statements.
The information was shared with Turkish daily Dünya by the commercial counselor of Turkey’s embassy in Riyadh, who cited a note from Saudi Arabia’s embassy in the Turkish capital Ankara.
The decision was conveyed to exporting firms and unions in Turkey by the Trade Ministry.
According to the announcement by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) as of Nov. 15, 2020, beef, mutton, white meat, poultry, fishery and aquaculture products, milk and milk alternatives, eggs and honey, as well as all products related to the list, are not to be imported from Turkey to Saudi Arabia.
Before the recent official decision, the kingdom had been involved in a semi-official embargo against Turkish products, despite calls to end the ban as it would eventually hurt world supply chains during the challenging COVID-19 period.
Saudi Arabia’s biggest supermarket chains previously joined a growing “boycott” of Turkish imports proposed by business leaders and Saudis on social media.
The two countries have been at odds for some years over various regional issues, including the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
Saudi Arabia’s government media office said previously that authorities have not placed any restrictions on Turkish goods.
However, in an apparently informal boycott of imports of Turkish goods, signs urging customers to not buy Turkish goods were seen in some retail stores in the capital Riyadh.
In 2019, Turkish exports to the kingdom amounted to some $3.1 billion (TL 23.75 billion). So far this year, neither Turkish nor Saudi trade data show an unusually large drop in two-way trade, even allowing for strains on global commerce from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the second quarter, Turkey was Saudi Arabia’s 12th trade partner by total import value. The latest data shows Saudi imports from Turkey were worth about $185 million in July, up from roughly $180 million in June.