Turkey to start talks with EU to update Customs Union deal by 2017: Minister
AA photoEconomy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said the country will start official talks with the European Union to update the existing Customs Union by the end of 2016 or early 2017 at the latest, Anadolu Agency reported on Aug. 29.
Upon a question about what he thought about Germany’s announcement on Aug. 28 that talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade deal being negotiated by the United States and the EU, had essentially failed, Zeybekci said the main point for Turkey was the update of the Customs Union deal.
“Here the main agenda for Turkey to see the updated and extended version of the Customs Union at the end of a process with the EU, which officially commenced in 2015… The existing process on the TTIP side does not have any negative or positive effect for Turkey,” he said, adding that the talks with the EU would likely start soon.
“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,” noted Zeybekci.
In May 2015, Zeybekçi and Malmstrom announced a framework for updating the Customs Union.
Conceived as a prelude to Turkey joining the EU, the Customs Union hasn’t been changed since 1995.
Ankara and EU officials will discuss extending it to include services, government contracting and most agricultural goods.