Turkey-Germany discusTurkey-Germany discuss EU, US free trade talks
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci raised Turkey's concerns over the ongoing EU-U.S. free trade talks during his visit to Berlin Wednesday Anadolu Agency reported
Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and Vice Chancellor, has signaled Berlin will consider Turkish concerns and demands on reforming the Customs Union.
The Customs Union allows Turkey and the EU member states to exchange goods without any customs restrictions.
"The further development of our Customs Union and the possible impacts of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on Turkey are important issues of our bilateral cooperation," Gabriel said in a written statement following his meeting with Zeybekci.
The transatlantic trade agreement between the U.S. and EU is part of the Customs Union. But since Turkey is not an EU member yet, it remains excluded from the negotiations.
The EU and Turkey established the Customs Union in 1995 as it was seen as a keystone to a prospective EU membership.
Early this month, Turkish Economy Minister Zeybekci called on the EU and the U.S. to address Turkey's concerns.
"If Turkey doesn't become a member of a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and EU, nor concluded a simultaneous free-trade agreement with the U.S., it would be impossible for Turkey to maintain its customs union agreement with the EU," he said.
The EU heavyweight Germany is Turkey's main trade partner. In 2013, the bilateral trade volume reached €33 billion.
German Vice Chancellor hoped to further develop the bilateral economic ties.
"Germany and Turkey have a very dynamic economic partnership. Such a partnership is of course not something given, but something achieved through hard work," Gabriel said.
"The Joint Economic and Trade Commission and the German-Turkish Energy Forum are important instruments to further develop our cooperation," he said.