Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 17
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
EU companies are the biggest provider of foreign investment into Turkey by far, the head of the department of Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission Luc Devigne told Trend.
"It is in the interest of both the EU and Turkey to continue the Customs Union, and even to enhance our bilateral trade relations," Devigne said.
Earlier, Turkish minister for EU affairs, Volkan Bozkir, said Ankara will suspend its membership to the EUCU if its economic interests are not taken into account while signing of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US.
"According to a recent study from the World Bank, the EU-Turkey Customs Union has been beneficial to both Parties in view of the significant increase of bilateral trade," Devigne said.
"EU companies' foreign investment into Turkey has helped improve the country's infrastructure and see it produced according to higher EU standards, hence increasing Turkey's competitiveness for the benefit of its businesses and citizens."
Bozkir said the countries, with regard to which there is a free trade regime with the EU, can export goods to Turkey with zero tariff rates.
The minister said that if the US goods are delivered to the Turkish market free of duty, Turkey can lose up to $2.5 billion-$3 billion.
"If the EU agreement with the US on TTIP is signed, and Turkey at the same time finds itself unprotected, then we will be forced to freeze our membership in the EU Customs Union," Bozkir said.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc earlier said that Turkey's accession to the European Union has lost its attraction for the citizens of the country.
"If previously 75 percent of Turkey's population supported the country's accession to the EU, currently, this figure has dropped to 20 percent," he said.
The official talks on Turkey's accession to the EU resumed in 2005.
Turkey has fulfilled 65 percent of its commitments to the EU for accession to this organization.
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