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Online public consultation on the future of EU-Turkey trade and economic relations

  • Policy field: Trade
  • Target group: All Stakeholders
  • Closing Date: Completed - 09/06/2016

Objective of the consultation

This public consultation aims to gather detailed views relating to the future trade and economic relationship between the European Union (EU) and Turkey. The results of the consultation will feed into the Impact Assessment which Commission services are currently preparing with regards to the potential modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union and the possible enhancement of the EU-Turkey bilateral preferential trade framework.

The online consultation launched today aims to ensure that all relevant stakeholders have an opportunity to comment on all the aspects of the Impact Assessment that will accompany the Commission’s planned recommendation to launch the negotiations for modernising the Customs Union and enhancing the bilateral preferential trade framework.

The online consultation will be open for 12 weeks.

Context of the consultation

EU-Turkey preferential bilateral trade relations are governed by the Association Agreement, and subsequent decisions that include the establishment of the Customs Union (limited to goods only), and trade concessions in the agricultural sector. Furthermore, a Free Trade Agreement covering most coal and steel products has also been signed. The instruments that regulate those trade relations were agreed in 1995-1996-1998, even though some additional limited amendments were made later on.

EU-Turkey trade and economic relations are very developed, and over the last two decades bilateral trade increased fourfold while economic and industrial integration have enhanced. In 2015, trade in goods amounted to € 140 billion (with a positive balance of € 17 billion in favour of the EU), making Turkey the EU’s fifth trade partner, while the EU is Turkey’s first. In addition, bilateral trade in services amounted to € 27 billion in 2014. Moreover, the EU is the source of two thirds of foreign direct investment in Turkey.

Based on a 20-year old Customs Union, which enhanced two-way trade, economic integration and investment flows, the EU-Turkey trade relationship has been overtaken by a more ambitious trade policy of the enlarged EU and the conclusion of bilateral deeper and more comprehensive trade agreements with key economic partners. The modernisation of the Customs Union and, more importantly, the enhancement of the EU-Turkey bilateral trade relations should allow for addressing this situation and can be a tool for Turkey to underpin its economic reforms and improve its competitiveness.

In May 2015 the EU Trade Commissioner and the Turkish Economy Minister jointly launched the process of preparing the upgrade of the EU-Turkey bilateral trade and economic relations. The process consists of the enhancement of the trade relations in areas such as trade in services and public procurement, the further liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, and the modernisation of the Customs Union.

The Commission's Communication "Trade for All - Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy" provides an overall policy orientation, priorities and identifies proposed initiatives.

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EU-Turkey trade relations