It's update time for the Customs Union - ERDAL TANAS KARAGÖL

It's update time for the Customs Union

The Customs Union Agreement, which came into effect on January 1, 1996, continued to be implemented without having any changes for the last 20 years. The agreement, which was appropriate for the conditions of that period and accepted to help the Turkish economy gain new opportunities, is now rendered insufficient according to the current conditions of Turkey.

This agreement, easily regarded as a success for the Turkish economy and politics 20 years ago, does not fit the Turkey, that's been rising since 2002 and whose economy shows a great success and aims at being one of the Top 10 economies of the world in 2023. Thus, it was inevitable for an update decision to be made on the Customs Union Agreement related with the necessities of the period and Turkey's vision.


This necessity is not only based on the performance of the Turkish economy alone. In this process, the policy pursued by Turkey in the international relations and the relations Turkey formed with developing or less-developed countries other than European countries has reinforced Turkey's commercial and economic relations with those countries as well.

Turkey, who wants to be included in the regional integrations that increase their importance in the global economy, cannot take on a role it aims for because of the structural problems in the Customs Union Agreement.

After the limitations in the Customs Union Agreement are lifted, it will be possible for our corporations, who had the power to rival other corporations in the international field, to work more actively and with full potential. Establishing an environment without limitations will be providing an increase in the trading volume and reinforcing the commercial relations.

At this point, the fact that the EU's free trade agreement with other countries has a relevance to Turkey also, despite the fact that Turkey is not in the decision mechanism, is especially affecting the exportation negatively. Being affected by the results of decisions made on matters, which Turkey cannot express its own opinion, is the primary reason why the existing Customs Union Agreement lost its validity for Turkey.

Also, as the Turkish markets were opened to the other countries' corporations unilaterally, it brought a high cost to the Turkish economy. Besides, no longer are there any obligations for the Turkish economy to accept such a cost. Because Turkey is not the same as it was in 1996, now we are in a position aiming at 2023.

Turkey's determination of the Customs Union Agreement being inacceptable had been effective in the European Union Commission's acceptance of requiring an update of the agreement and giving a green light for the process.

Both the EU and Turkey stated that the tenure of the agreement has expired. The scope of the agreement, which will start a new period in the relations between Turkey and the EU, should be appropriate for Turkey's 2023 objectives.


During Turkey's EU membership process, the Customs Union Agreement was regarded as a gap. This agreement, which invigorated the economy 20 years ago, had also increased the interaction of the economic actors in the country with Europe. However, an agreement, which had not been updated until now, shaped according to the conditions of the Turkish economy and adapted accordingly to the conditions in the global economy, cannot be accepted by Turkey.

Thus, the cooperation work towards re-arranging the agreement will be the fresh blood in the Turkey-EU relations. A mutual healthy communication will be increasing the interaction on other matters between the two sides, while providing the updating of the Customs Union Agreement.

The renewal of the Customs Union Agreement is one of the biggest obligations for Turkey's participation in the free trade and investment partnership (TTIP) between EU and US. Otherwise, the Custom Unions will carry no meaning for a Turkey that will not take place in the TTIP.

Thus, it shouldn't be forgotten that the update work will be decisive in Turkey's economic relations, not only with the EU countries, but also with other countries.


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