“Bilateral trade volume between the bloc and Turkey has almost quadrupled over the past 15 years to around $165 billion. This is a well-balanced trade relationship. The issue of upgrading the customs union, which would be beneficial to both parties, should be addressed urgently,” Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Feb. 28 following the third High Level Economic Dialogue meeting with Jyrki Katainen, Vice President of the EuropeanCommission.
“Turkey is our fifth largest trading partner, thus we have deep relations. The EuropeanUnion wants to maintain its close relations with Turkey,” Katainen told reporters at a joint press conference with Albayrak.
He also said that visa liberalization will be granted as soon as Turkey meets the required criteria, noting that Ankara has already satisfied 68 criteria out of a total 72.
Ankara may meet the remaining criteria in less than three years, Katainen also said.
The deal covers all industrial goods but does not address agriculture (apart from processed agricultural products), services or public procurement.
Bilateral trade concessions apply to agricultural goods as well as coal and steel products.
In December 2016, the European Commission proposed modernizing the customs union and further extending the bilateral trade relations to areas such as services, public procurement and sustainable development.
Turkey’s exports to the European Union are mostly machinery and transport equipment, followed by manufactured goods while the bloc’s exports to Turkey are dominated by machinery and transport material, chemical products and manufactured goods.