Ankara intends to conclude the process of updating customs union between Turkey and the European Union before 2018, Turkey’s Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci said Wednesday.
According to Anadolu news agency, Zeybekci pointed out four alternatives for updating customs union: an updated agreement with limits on agricultural products; an updates, comprising a full scope of agricultural products, services and public procurement and granting Turkey a seat in the decision-making mechanism; converting the Customs Union Agreement to a comprehensive free-trade agreement or converting the existing agreement, comprising only industrial goods, to a free-trade area.
“We have evaluated all these alternatives and, as far as I can see, the second alternative is positive for both us and the EU. Not eliminating the other ones, we will concentrate on this option,” Zeybekci was quoted as saying by the media outlet.
Zeybekci stressed that this particular alternative would boost Turkey’s GDP by two percent per year by 2030.
“This will bring additional growth of 24.5 percent in exports and extra 23 percent in imports upon normal growth of those figures,” Zeybekci said.
Ankara is seeking to renegotiate its 1995 customs union with the bloc, in accordance with which Turkey must open its markets to third countries that are part of a free trade agreement with Brussels. In contrast, Turkish goods cannot be exported to third countries without duties, as Turkey is not an EU member.
On December 12, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Volkan Bozkir said negotiations on updating Ankara’s customs union trade agreement with the European Union would be opened next year.