Turkey must be a part of transatlantic trade deal: EU minister

Turkey must be a part of transatlantic trade deal: EU minister

Turkey must be a part of transatlantic trade deal: EU minister

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Turkey must be a part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), otherwise the country will face serious hurdles in its economic and trade power, European Union Minister Volkan Bozkır said in a meeting hosted by the Istanbul Chamber of Industry (İSO) on Feb. 13. 

“Not being a part of the TTIP will cost a lot to Turkey. Our country must be a party to the deal. Otherwise we’ll face serious hurdles in our economic and trade power,” he said. 

According to Bozkır, there are two options for Turkey to ease the process. 

“We’ll start to update the Customs Union with the EU this year. Some crucial areas, including agriculture, services and public purchasing, have yet been included in the deal. With the addition of these sectors, Turkey’s trade volume with the EU may increase to $300 billion from around $150 billion… Here we have two options. We have wanted to put an article in the updated Customs Union allowing the automatic adoption of any trade deal of the EU with third parties in Turkey. We aim to achieve the inclusion of this before the TTIP deal is signed. If we can make it, the TTIP conditions will be effective for Turkey as well. Otherwise, Turkey will see additional costs until we sign a free trade deal with the United States, but we cannot handle these costs. At this point, the Customs Union may need to be frozen. Another option is that we want to add an article to the TTIP if the Customs Union deal is not updated before the TTIP deal is signed. This article should say: ‘The TTIP will be applicable for the Customs Union members,’” he said. 

Turkey has been a party to the Customs Union deal with the EU since 1995, allowing goods into its borders. However, Turkey is not a party to the TTIP talks, as it is not an EU member.

Turkey ‘to lose $5 billion if not included in TTIP’

İSO President Erdal Bahçıvan said Turkey will lose around $5 billion annually if it is not included in the TTIP. 
“We believe that the Customs Union deal needs to be updated in line with the changing global trade dynamics,” he said, adding, “Any measures must be taken to prevent Turkey’s losses in its trade with third parties. Turkey will lose around $5 billion annually if it does not become a part of the TTIP,” he said. 
Pascal Lamy, the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) from September 2005 to September 2013, said the Customs Union between the EU and Turkey was not “perfect” due to a lack of crucial sectors. 

“The problems with the agriculture and services sectors must be resolved. Besides, the main point here [is] whether Turkey will join the common market,” he said, adding that the TTIP, which has been negotiated between the EU and the U.S., will not be a big deal for Turkey. 

“The TTIP will enable both sides to have the same standards, which will be good news for Turkey. On the other hand, we do not know whether the TTIP deal will be completed. I do not know the formal stance of the EU Commission, but the negotiations will probably not end in the next five years. It is madness to expect the deal will be made in the next two years. Besides, Turkey is not alone here as Switzerland, Norway, Canada and Mexico share the same problems in regard to a potential TTIP deal,” he added.