Turkey's shoe exports rose by 29.5 percent in volume in 2011 to 92.64 million pairs. In U.S. dollars, the value of exports went up by 11.5 percent to $441.30 million. The country has a market share of 0.37 percent of global shoe exports, according to data released by the Turkish shoemakers' association, TASD.

Russia remained Turkey's main export market in value despite a 12.0 percent decline to $73.55 million. Volumes dropped by 5.2 percent to 3.99 million pairs. Iraq was the second-largest market in value but the biggest in volume. Sales to Iraq rose by 32.2 percent in value to $58.43 million and were up by 39.2 percent in volume to 26.34 million pairs. The third-largest market was Saudi Arabia, up by 14.0 percent to $28.84 million, with volumes up by 4.6 percent to 7.87 million pairs.

Germany ranked fourth with a 17.1 percent increase in value to $18.98 million and a 9.6 percent decline in volume to 2.91 million pairs. The U.K. was fifth with a 3.5 percent rise in value to $12.44 million and a 6.9 percent jump in volume to 0.86 million pairs, followed by the Netherlands, down by 20.4 percent in value to $10.60 million but up by 42.2 percent in volume to 0.80 million. Exports to Romania fell by 5.9 percent in value to $9.53 million and by 11.6 percent in volume to 2.15 million pairs. The Netherlands and Belgium have been increasing their role as a bridge for imports into Europe.

France was Turkey's seventh-largest market, falling by two positions in the ranking, as exports dropped by 33.4 percent to $10.03 million and volumes slipped by 2.5 percent to 2.57 million pairs. Sales to Italy increased by 17.3 percent to $9.86 million and by 29.8 percent to 1.03 million pairs. Belgium closed the ranking of Turkey's top 10 export markets with an 83.6 percent surge in value to $9.38 million and a 62.7 percent rise in volumes to 2.39 million pairs

In the meantime, Turkey's shoe imports rose by 32.1 percent to $871.39 million, resulting in a higher trade deficit of $430.09 million compared with $264.05 million in 2010. Imports in volume increased by 26.2 percent to 51.82 million pairs.

China represented more than half of imports in value, up by 26.3 percent to $443.90 million and by 25.6 percent to 37.79 million pairs. Vietnam ranked second with a 22.6 percent increase in value to $102.19 million and a 23.2 percent rise in volumes to 5.07 million pairs. Indonesia was on the third step of the podium thanks to a 30.3 percent rise in value to $81.28 million and a 34.1 percent increase in volumes to 3.84 million pairs.

Italy came fourth with a 29.8 percent surge to $71.05 million and a 20.8 percent rise in volumes to 0.73 million pairs. Among other leading European countries exporting to Turkey, Spain ranked seventh lifted by a 50.7 percent increase in value to $12.02 million and 38.0 percent jump in volume to 0.32 million pairs. Portugal was 10th, with a 56.8 percent rise to $6.51 million and a 25.6 percent jump in volume to 0.17 million pairs.

The industry expressed disappointment about the widening of the trade deficit despite efforts to compete against Asian producers. It called for government incentives, lower taxes and financial support to boost exports. TASD said that the industry totals 18,500 companies. Meanwhile, TADS is working on an English version of its website, which is scheduled to be up and running in the coming days.