Turkey is a very important market for FTA members; both for sourcing and exporting. However, despite the EU-Turkey Customs Union, there are a number of trade barriers and, since late 2014, several restrictive additional duties that harm exports and investment. For this reason, the FTA issued a position paper in early 2015 that called for an enhanced Customs Union that at least included a dispute settlement process. Soon after, the Commission began the necessary steps to accomplish this.
We have learned that a draft mandate on the enhanced Customs Union is almost finalised and will be sent to Member States in early 2017. FTA believes that before negotiations with Turkey on this mandate are initiated Turkey should remove, or commit to remove, many of the trade barriers and duties that are in place – similar to the negotiations with Japan. Therefore, to emphasise the line first presented at the European Parliament earlier this year, a statement to this effect has been sent to the Commission.