Turkey says it has agreed to ‘wide-ranging’ post-Brexit trade deal with UK 

Turkey says it has agreed to ‘wide-ranging’ post-Brexit trade deal with UK 

ANKARA - Reuters
Turkey says it has agreed to ‘wide-ranging’ post-Brexit trade deal with UK

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Turkey has agreed to implement a wide-ranging trade agreement with Britain once it leaves the European Union, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci told a parliamentary commission in Ankara on Nov. 10.

Zeybekci in June had pledged right after Brexit vote that Turkey would continue to take steps to maintain and strengthen investment, foreign trade and financial relations with Britain.

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson in a visit to Ankara in late September said he hoped for a “jumbo” free trade deal following Brexit. Ankara has a customs union with the bloc.

“We have decided to bring online a wide-range trade deal between the two countries once Britain leaves the EU,” Zeybekci told the parliament’s planning and budgetary commission as he presented his ministry’s 2017 budget.

He did not give further details.

He also said Turkey planned to increase the list of items it exports to Iran to 400 by the end of the year from a current 265.

Turkey’s exports to the United Kingdom totaled $10.6 billion in 2015, according to IMF data.

Turkey expects talks to resume in the first quarter of next year on updating its customs union with the European Union, he also said, in a step Ankara hopes could double its trade with the bloc.

“The impact analyses have been finalized both on the EU side and the Turkish side. We will take the authorization from the cabinet to run the process as the Economy Ministry. So the EU’s related commissar, Cecilia Malmstrom, will [run the process]. The official talks will likely start by the end of this year or early 2017 at the latest. Both sides have already voiced their will to accelerate the process,” Zeybekci said in August. 

Addressing a parliamentary commission in Ankara, Zeybekci also said that Turkey expected to reach its overall export target of $143.1 billion this year.

Turkey wants to widen a 20-year customs union with the EU to cover services and agriculture. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek told Reuters in June that such a move could make Turkey the EU’s third largest trade partner and double their current bilateral trade of around $160 billion a year.