Turkey ‘to re-negotiate’ Customs Union with EU
BURDUR - Anadolu Agency
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi is seen speaking with local businessmen in the southern province of Burdur, March 23. AA photoTurkey will bring up the Customs Union deal for negotiation with the European Union by June, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi has announced.
The move comes amid Ankara’s mounting frustration with the accord, particularly after Brussels recently kicked off the free trade deal process with Washington.
“By June, we’re going to re-open for negotiation the Customs Union Agreement, to which no sovereign independent state should agree,” Zeybekçi said March 23, speaking with local businessmen in the southern province of Burdur.
“I was with economy and trade ministers and delegations of 28 EU member countries. I pressured these men about the Customs Union … We met three times and we’re now going to get together for a fourth time,” he said.
Critics of the accord that was agreed in 1996, including Zeybekçi’s predecessor Zafer Çağlayan, say it restricts Turkey’s export competitiveness. This is because the bloc is able to enter into free-trade agreements with other nations that are binding for Ankara, without the Turks having a say.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, for which negotiations have started between the United States and the European Union, is the latest such agreement to deal a blow to Turkey, causing the resentment of many local exporters.
Free trade deals between the EU and third parties enable other countries’ goods to enter Turkish markets via Europe with zero duties, but the decision to provide the same privileges to Turkey is up to the third party.