Turkey Customs Union Agreement with EU: Benefits and Challenges
Turkey is a country with a strategic location between Europe and Asia, making it a key player in international trade. In 1995, Turkey signed a Customs Union agreement with the European Union (EU), which created a free trade area for industrial goods, but excluded agriculture and services.
The Turkey-EU Customs Union agreement has brought significant benefits to the Turkish economy. It led to an increase in trade volume between Turkey and the EU, with the EU becoming Turkey`s largest trading partner. In 2020, EU-Turkey trade in goods was worth 142 billion euros, with the EU exporting 78 billion euros worth of goods to Turkey and importing 64 billion euros worth of goods from Turkey.
The Customs Union agreement has also facilitated Turkey`s integration into the global economy, encouraged foreign investment, and helped to modernize Turkey`s industry and infrastructure. Access to the EU market has enabled Turkish businesses to improve their competitiveness, increase their productivity, and upgrade their technology.
Moreover, the Customs Union agreement has contributed to political and social stability in Turkey, by promoting a closer relationship with the EU and facilitating the exchange of ideas and values. It has also reinforced Turkey`s commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
However, the Customs Union agreement has also posed some challenges for Turkey. The exclusion of agriculture and services has limited the benefits of the agreement for these sectors, which are important for the Turkish economy and employment. As a result, Turkey has been pushing for the modernization of the Customs Union agreement to include agriculture and services, which would create new opportunities for Turkish exporters and investors.
Another challenge is the increasing political tensions between Turkey and some EU member states, which have put a strain on the relationship and raised doubts about the future of the Customs Union agreement. The EU has expressed concerns about Turkey`s human rights record, democracy, and the rule of law, and has imposed some measures, such as suspending accession negotiations and limiting funding for Turkey. Turkey, on the other hand, has criticized the EU for its biased and unfair attitude towards Turkey, and has threatened to withdraw from the Customs Union if its demands are not met.
In conclusion, the Turkey-EU Customs Union agreement has been a significant milestone in Turkey`s economic and political development, but there are still opportunities and challenges to be addressed. The modernization of the agreement to include agriculture and services, as well as the resolution of political tensions, could further enhance the benefits of the agreement for both Turkey and the EU.