EU-US free trade may negatively affect Turkey – European Commission
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.17
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement which EU and US plan to sign, may negatively affect Turkey, Luc Devigne, head of a unit at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Trade told Trend.
Given Turkey's participation in the European Customs Union, TTIP may indeed negatively affect Turkey, according to Devigne.
Any free trade agreement concluded by two or more parties will change the competitive conditions for third countries, since the market access conditions between the parties to the agreement will improve for each other, he said.
Furthermore, because of Turkey's participation in the European Customs Union, there is also the additional possibility that imports into the EU (at preferential conditions) originating in a party with which the EU has a free trade agreement could eventually be rerouted to Turkey, whilst Turkey would not be able to export to that party at preferential conditions in the absence of a bilateral preferential agreement between Turkey and that party.
"Therefore, the EU considers that it is important that Turkey also concludes a preferential trade agreement with the US," said Devigne.
He added that the European Commission has already provided, and will continue, to support Turkey in this endeavor to conclude a bilateral free trade agreement with the US. Moreover, the European Commission has several times and at various levels including political, highlighted its interest in this issue to the US, according to Devigne.
Earlier, Turkish minister for EU Affairs Volkan Bozkir said Ankara will suspend its membership in the Customs Union with EU, if its economic interests are not taken into account while signing of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the EU and the US.
He also said the agreement on Turkey's accession to the EU Customs Union which was concluded in 1995, didn't include an article saying that the EU's agreements with other countries do not apply to Turkey.
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.
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