ECONOMICS > EU ‘can’t force inclusion of Turkey in trade deal’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

The European Union has limits on what it can do to include Turkey into its free trade deals with third parties, says the union’s chief negotiator, adding Turkey’s belief in EU support for free trade with US has a limited reality

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The EU cannot force countries to negotiate free trade agreements with Turkey and can only encourage bilateral deals, says Garcia Bercero (C). Courtesy of TÜSİAD

The EU cannot force countries to negotiate free trade agreements with Turkey and can only encourage bilateral deals, says Garcia Bercero (C). Courtesy of TÜSİAD

Dilara Sarı Dilara Sarı dilara.sari@hdn.com.tr

The European Union “cannot force” countries to negotiate free trade agreements with Turkey and can only offer so much in light of bilateral agreements, the European Commission’s chief negotiator at the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Garcia Bercero, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Turkey’s firm belief in European backup in anticipation of the massive trade and investment agreement between the bloc and the United States has only a limited reality, Bercero said. “At the end of the day, what we can do is that we can talk to countries, we can explain to them why in light of the customs union it would certainly be appropriate for those negations to be conducted, but that’s the limit of what we can do.”

Several minutes before Bercero’s words, during a panel organized by the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), the Turkish deputy undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy had stated clearly that Turkey did not call for “big brother protection” but rather “simple requirements of the EU’s responsibility in the customs union agreement.”

“Up to a limit, yes, we feel that we have a responsibility on the issue,” Bercero told the Daily News, “but at the same time, it’s not possible to simply pretend countries are going to start negotiations simply because we tell them that it would be the right thing to do.”

Deputy Undersecretary Cemalettin Damlacı complained about the customs union agreement earlier in the day, saying the arrangement was on the verge of losing its sustainability and “turning into a free trade agreement.”

Bercero, however, dismissed “a purely negative view of the customs union.”

“If Turkey now has a significant number of free trade agreements with countries, it has been in part because of the customs union. Those countries would not have negotiated with Turkey without the reality of the customs union,” Bercero said. Bercero added that both sides should overrule “ideas that are not realistic” and focus on “parallel negotiations instead of negotiations all together.”

US ‘values’ message

The process of concluding a free trade union in the EU is a longer process, with ratification taking up to two years, which would give Turkey enough time to hash out differences with the U.S., Bercero said.

“My strong recommendation would be for Turkey to start a working group with the U.S. as quickly as possible, to prepare well for the negotiations, and throughout this process we would be keeping Turkey well-informed on how the negotiations are proceeding,” Bercero said.

The panel hosted a series of significant figures from the Turkish economy ministry and business circles, with the deputy undersecretary repeating Turkey’s perseverance in “communicating to the highest levels and every platform,” defining the subject as “the most important point on the agenda with the U.S.”

Zafer Ali Yavan, secretary-general of TÜSİAD, added that business circles “would show great efforts to not let Turkey be excluded.”

Laird D. Treiber, the economic officer of the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, also attended the panel and said the message Turkey has been conveying regarding the TTIP had been received well and had been taken into consideration. “We heard the message and we value the message,” Treiber said. “I reassure you we understand the importance Turkey attaches to free trade agreements.”


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Notice on comments

ismail demir

5/7/2013 6:53:38 PM

If they did not include Turkey, they should not force Turkey to import these countries without custom tax, same time Turkey export these countries with %40 custom tax.


5/7/2013 5:49:57 PM

When Turkey implements reforms that bring into line with EU states, it can start expecting to be treated equally. A prosecutor has asked for sentences of 26 months for two men considered to have insulted Erdogan on Facebook. So, prospective EU member, or Banana Republic? It's up to Turkey to choose.

mara mcglothin

5/7/2013 3:07:16 PM

VARGEN You are correct. The World does not revolve around Turkey anymore than it revolves around any other country. We all have to live on the planet together. The rest is what it is.

Vargen Vargen

5/7/2013 2:25:31 PM

EU and US together represent more than 50% of the GDP of the entire world. Turkey is probably in the range of 1-2%, So when EU and US discuss, our of pure size, Turkey is just a tiny little detail. And when they meet, they do not focus their talks on a country being so small, when they themselves are huge. Nothing strange that they use their time to discuss the big picture, not the issues involving 1-2%.

dogan kemal ileri

5/7/2013 2:01:58 PM

to American American hey buddy I am already home will be here for the foreseeable future

american american

5/7/2013 12:57:10 PM

come home dogan...stop supporting foreign governments with your tax money!

two sides to every coin

5/7/2013 11:00:25 AM

The EU will never let Turkey to become a member, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to understand this, This is all a smoke screen, The EU is not far from collapse in its own right, so lets be honest, what with human rights and political instability within AKP why would the EU want Turkey. So AKP stop insulting our intelligence and stop spending the tax payers money on a venture that you have no intention on following through.

Faruk Beisser

5/7/2013 9:01:21 AM

Bla bla bla, bla bla bla! How sad that not everyone fully endorses Gülen/Erbakan AKP demands! The infidels are at it again!

Rorschach ~

5/7/2013 6:13:19 AM

Once again. AKP polar personality politics.... "we'll play the game, but only with our rules." To heck with everybody else .....

dogan kemal ileri

5/7/2013 1:03:00 AM

What is he point of having ctustoms union with the EU if Turkiye is not invited to even observe the proceedings between the EU and USA which will automatically influence us but we will be procluded from any form of influence or representation. I did'nt hink we have sunk so low as to be regarded in the EU as a banana republic. If we left the EU tomorrow does anyone seriously think our EU invesrtments will dry up? Wake up to the realities Turks and stop dreaming whilst we're raped daily by the EU.
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