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ECONOMICS > Turkey ‘needs to join’ transatlantic trade deal

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

The free trade deal between Washington and Brussels is risky for Turkey if it fails to form relations in line with its own interests, business leader warns

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US Vice President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with European Parliament President Martin Schulz. AFP photo

US Vice President Joe Biden (L) shakes hands with European Parliament President Martin Schulz. AFP photo

Turkey should not be left adrift amid plans between the United States and the European Union to sign a transatlantic trade cooperation deal, a leading Turkish businessman has said.

“The transatlantic free trade agreement to be signed between the U.S. and the EU holds great risks for Turkey as the agreement will force Turkey to ease the trade and investment for the U.S. because of the customs union between Turkey and the EU,” Ekim Alptekin, the president of the Turkish-American Business Association, has warned during the dinner he hosted.

The U.S. and EU launched moves on Feb. 13 to open negotiations on a new free trade pact that seeks to eliminate or minimize barriers everywhere.

The free trade agreements between the EU and third parties enable these other countries’ goods to enter European markets or Turkish markets via Europe with zero duties, but the decision to provide the same privileges to Turkey is up to the discretion of the third party.

As the Customs Union structure grants the U.S. the authority to decide about whether or not to extend favorable trading privileges to Turkey, the current period represents an opportunity to persuade U.S. politicians to realize the bilateral interests at stake, he said.

Alptekin said Turkey should pursue separate negotiations in parallel to the main U.S.-EU talks to establish a mutually beneficial trade relationship.

A similar trade agreement between the U.S. and Turkey would boost the bilateral trade and investment relations between the countries, which have been lower than they should have been, the businessman said.
“Turkey has exported around $5.6 billion worth of goods to the U.S. while importing $14 billion in 2012 – records over the last two years. These figures, however, are below the potential,” he said.

The deterioration of the European economy, Turkey’s number-one trade partner, increases the importance of economic liberalization and opening trade channels between the U.S. and Turkey, according to Alptekin.

He said the transatlantic trade should be perceived as a second Marshall Fund, as this will make a great contribution to the EU economy, which has been struggling to end the crisis on the back of its own efforts. Turkey should not miss the opportunity to be part of a trade pact that is much more comprehensive, he added.

The state-level attempts to establish more comprehensive ties have been laudable but they remain insufficient, he said, adding that that placed an additional burden on business people and the Turkish community living in the U.S..The association has been cooperating with the Turkish community in the U.S., eying to raise consciousness, he said.

February/21/2013

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ismail demir

2/21/2013 7:22:44 PM

Turkey locked itself with custom union agreement that allows third parties to export without custom tax to Turkey, but Turkish companies have to pay custom tax to third countries.Therefore there is no reason for US or other third parties to lift custom to Turkey.Custom Union agreement was designed to prevent Turkey to export non-Euro countries to be open for European blackmail.

mara mcglothin

2/21/2013 6:51:40 PM

Absolutely not!!! JOHN Biden was kicked out of school for taking credit for someone's else's thesis. I wouldn't vote/trust him as far as I can throw him.

Faruk Beisser

2/21/2013 12:04:34 PM

As long as the Gülen/Erbakan AKP keeps on ripping off the public by imposing a 70% import fee, based on the value, before taxes, international companies will think twice before increasing trade with Turkey.

john albay

2/21/2013 11:14:19 AM

would you buy a used car for either of the 2 persons pictured in the photo above?
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