By NEWS DESK
Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan gave details of the videoconference meeting she held with European Union (EU) Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni. The attention Turkey pays to EU relations as a member country and a Customs Union partner and full EU membership as the country’s strategic and ultimate goal was underlined in the meeting, the minister said.
Following a videoconference meeting with Gentiloni, Ruhsar Pekcan said they discussed wide-ranging issues from Turkish-EU trade ties, updating the Customs Union, and the Green Deal. The meeting came ahead of an EU leaders’ summit on Thursday and Friday where Turkey will be discussed, and Turkey expects positive results, said Pekcan.
Underlining that updating the Customs Union became even more important due to the pandemic and Brexit, Pekcan said Turkey got very strong support on the issue from business circles in Europe. Despite all its benefits, the quarter-century-old Customs Union is insufficient to meet the expectations of either side under current conditions, she argued.
‘Customs Union falls short of reflecting the potential’
In addition to systemic and specific structural problems, the current Customs Union does not cover areas such as services and e-commerce, which are growing increasingly important, she added. “In this respect, the Customs Union falls short of reflecting the true potential of commercial and economic ties between the parties and the vision of our partnership agreement,” she said.
There is a significant opportunity for creating a positive agenda in EU-Turkey relations, she added. “We expect a result from the EU Summit on March 25-26 that will pave the way for concrete studies. Creating a positive agenda between Turkey and the EU, updating the Customs Union will be one of the key items of the summit.”
‘Finance important for green transformation’
“More economic cooperation between the EU and Turkey will provide great benefits to both sides,” she added. On the EU’s Green Deal, Pekcan stressed that Turkey has been following its development very closely, saying she hopes “the deal will not cause further protectionist policies.”
“We need to work together so that the free movement of the goods will not be blocked,” she stressed, adding that accessing finance for Turkey’s green transition is quite important.
Digitalizing customs procedures
She also emphasized that efforts to carry out customs procedures in harmony with both the EU and in a digital environment should be accelerated.
“We’re ready to cooperate in order to digitalize customs procedures and provide the necessary technological transformation in this direction,” said the EU’s Gentiloni. He added that negotiations on a mutual recognition agreement should be continued in close cooperation, saying it is gratifying to hear that the technical negotiations are going very well in this context.