Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström met on 12 May with the Minister of Economy of Turkey Mr Nihat Zeybekci to agree to modernise the 20-year-old Customs Union Agreement and to enhance EU-Turkey bilateral trade relations.
On this occasion Commissioner Malmström said: “We need to modernise our Custom Union with Turkey and bring it into the 21st century. This initiative will boost EU-Turkey commercial relations.” This result has been achieved under the joint leadership of Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Commissioner Johannes Hahn in charge of Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
It follows technical discussions held over the last 12 months that allowed both sides to understand each other’s expectations and ambitions for new preferential bilateral trade relations. Both sides will now undertake their respective internal procedures to adopt this initiative and to seek the corresponding negotiating mandates. Turkey is a candidate country, and accession negotiations to the EU are ongoing. The enhancement of bilateral trade relations is not an alternative to the accession negotiations of Turkey, but complementary to it. Turkey is also a very important trading partner for the EU: Turkey is the EU’s sixth biggest trading partner, whereas the EU is Turkey’s biggest trading partner. There is huge potential, however, to further develop these trade relations and this is precisely what the new commercial framework will make possible.