Business sector urges solution within EU on Customs Union
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
The free trade agreement that is foreseen to be signed between the EU and the United States has put the Turkey-EU Customs Union alliance under the spotlight almost 20 years after being signed. AFP PhotoTurkey’s prominent business figures have urged for an immediate solution for Turkey’s problematic Customs Union relations with the EU.
The free trade agreement that is foreseen to be signed between the EU and the United States has put the Turkey-EU Customs Union alliance under the spotlight almost 20 years after being signed.
Turkish exporters and economy authorities have begun to express objections to the mechanism that was designed to form a trade bloc for neglecting Turkey’s potential loss at the EU’s free trade deals with third parties.
Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD) International Coordinator Bahadır Kaleağası said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and the EU will be a fundamental factor affecting global and Turkish economy, arguing “Turkey should be a partnering member in this process.”
“Such a position would have a positive impact on Turkey’s international economic value, attraction and soft power capacity,” he said.
Kaleağası said the business world is troubled with the free trade deals the EU signs with third countries, as well as visa problems that “hamper business relations.”
However, he warned transforming the Customs Union into a FTA would damage the Turkish economy’s brand value, and suggested including Turkey in a mutual process would be the best solution.
He also said most of the problems are related with the stagnation in Turkey’s EU accession process, holding both sides responsible for the issues.
“The solution is not going back, it is staying on the course of the EU,” he said.
The problems Turkey has been facing because of being outside of the decision-making process in the EU have reached alarming levels, Kaleağası also stated.
The head of Turkey’s exporters echoed Kaleağası, also offering for the automatic inclusion of Turkey into the process between third countries and the EU as a solution for the problems.
Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM) Chairman Mehmet Büyükekşi complained the terms of the Customs Union put Turkish tradesmen in a disadvantageous position, despite expressing his appreciation for the benefits yielded by the pact.
“The Customs Union has made a major contribution to factor efficiency and Turkey’s competitiveness, as well as raising Turkey’s total trade volume, opening way for new markets and various goods and leaning to technology-based production systems,” he said, calling for alternatives to be sought within the framework of Turkey-EU relations.