Turkey begins to negotiate free trade deal with UK

Technical negotiations started for extensive free trade agreement after Brexit, economy minister says

Turkey begins to negotiate free trade deal with UK

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey has started technical negotiations of a possible free trade agreement with the United Kingdom once it leaves the EU, Turkish economy minister said Thursday.

"We have officially started technical negotiations. We agreed with the U.K. to establish an extensive free trade agreement as soon as it leaves the EU," Nihat Zeybekci told the Parliamentary Planning and Budget Commission.

The scope of the agreement will be at least as wide as that of the Customs Union Agreement between Turkey and the EU, he said.

Turkey’s exports to the U.K. totalled $10.55 billion while its imports stood at $5.6 billion in 2015, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

Turkish officials had previously said that Brexit would not affect Turkey's exports to the EU and the U.K.

Green passports for exporters

Zeybekci also announced the near completion of works for a special passport for Turkish exporters to expedite the visa process as part of new incentives in the sector.

"We are in the final stages of works to issue green passports to exporters," he said, adding the number of passports to be offered would be determined by the export volume of companies.

"We will issue the passports very soon," he added.

Green passports enable holders to acquire visas quicker and gain visa-free entrance to many countries.

Exports to focus on several countries

The minister also said that Turkish exporters would focus on only a few countries in 2017.

"Starting from 2017, we will concentrate on 3-4 countries rather than 15 countries. We will also cut down top priority countries to adopt a different concept," he said, adding the government expected to reach its total export target of $143.1 billion this year.

Zeybekci also commented on the official negotiations regarding the update of the Customs Union agreement, saying they expect the talks to be launched by early 2017.

The Customs Union agreement was established in 1995.

Last Mod: 10 Kasım 2016, 19:04
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