Negotiations on updating EU Customs Union to start in 2016
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMay 06, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
May 06, 2015 12:00 am
Commenting on the update to the Customs Union agreement, which has long been on the agenda of the European Union and the Economy Ministry, EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır said the decision for an update has passed and negotiations will start in January 2016.
In a memorandum of understanding regarding the Customs Union agreement, Bozkır highlighted that the continuity of the negotiations between the EU and Turkey as well as improving Customs Union relations and the removal of visas are very crucial processes. He emphasized the importance of updating the Customs Union agreement, as the agreement was signed 20 years ago and does not include agriculture and service industries or public purchases. "Therefore, we have held important meetings with the EU and the Economy Ministry within the last 15 months, and the talks will start in January 2016."
The current Customs Union agreement does not contain any clause that entitles Turkey to automatically benefit from any free trade agreements the EU signs with a third country. Bozkır noted that Turkey had to open their markets without custom duties until Turkey signs a similar free trade agreement with the country in question. Moreover, the countries in return had not reciprocated; therefore, certain problems arose during the process.
Concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), to be signed between the U.S. and the EU, Bozkır underscored Turkey will suffer losses until it signs an agreement with the U.S. Therefore, as the ministry, they are striving to include a clause that will eliminate that risk. "At the last meeting held between the EU Ministry and the Economy Ministry, we focused on updating the Customs Union agreement. Fortunately, the EU has finally agreed to include this clause in the updated version of the agreement. And after such an agreement, we have officially notified the EU that we will sign the updated Customs Union agreement," Bozkır said.