Turkey, UK closer to signing free trade deal: Ministers

Turkey, UK closer to signing free trade deal: Ministers

Turkey, UK closer to signing free trade deal: Ministers

Turkey and the United Kindgom have reached a consensus to maintain trade relations even after Britain leaves the European Union eventually at the end of this year, according to the Turkish Trade Minister.

“We’ve evaluated the current outlook of our bilateral trade, the Brexit process and our future steps to deepen our relations with [British Trade Secretary] Liz Truss,” Ruhsar Pekcan said on her Twitter account.

“It was great to see that we’ve a consensus to answer our business cycles’ request for continuing our relations unharmed,” said Pekcan.

Pekcan and Truss, along with British International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena and Turkish Deputy Trade Minister Gonca Yılmaz Batur, met in a virtual conference on July 28.

On her part, Truss said that the aim of the meeting was “to progress” trade deal between the two countries.

“The U.K. and Turkey already share a strong trading relationship worth 19 billion pounds,” she said.

"Yesterday, Britain’s consul general to Istanbul said that Turkey and the U.K. are “one step closer to a free trade agreement after a new round of technical talks.”

“Further progress made on draft U.K.-Turkey Free Trade Agreement at ninth round of technical talks on 28 July,” Judith Slater said on Twitter. 

“Aim to put arrangements in place this year for our future trading relationship,” the British Consul General to Istanbul and Trade Commissioner for Eastern Europe and Central Asia added.

The U.K. has signed free trade agreements with many nations, but Ankara is unable to sign a trade agreement with London due to Turkey’s international commitments with the EU.

Negotiations between the EU and the U.K. to strike a trade deal are underway in London and Brussels.

If London and Brussels are unable to secure a deal by the end of the year, Ankara could face a dilemma over whether to push ahead with the agreement with Britain and risk breaching EU rules.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu acknowledged that would be a “bizarre situation,” during his visit to London at the start of this month.

The U.K. is Turkey’s second-largest trade partner after Germany, and securing an FTA with Britain is deemed important for Turkish manufacturers, particularly carmakers, textile factories and white goods producers.

Bilateral trade between Turkey and Britain soared over 60 percent in the last decade, reaching an annual volume of $16 billion. Turkey’s exports to Britain, mainly vehicles, white goods and clothes, worth slightly higher than imports from the U.K.

There are more than 2,500 British companies operating in Turkey including BP, Shell, Vodafone, Unilever, BAE Systems, HSBC, Aviva and Diageo.