Türkiye, EU show progress in upgrading customs union

Türkiye and the European Union have made progress in removing trade irritants and launching talks for the modernization of the current customs union, a senior EU official has said, reminding that trade volume between the two sides has surpassed 200 billion euros in 2023.

Oliver Varhelyi, EU commissioner responsible for enlargement and neighborhood policy, was in Ankara for extensive talks with his counterparts, including Vice President Cevdet Yılmaz, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, Trade Minister Ömer Bolat, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, on May 23.

Varhelyi and Fidan explained the issues discussed during these meetings at a joint press conference at the Turkish foreign ministry. On Türkiye's expectations for starting talks on the modernization of the customs union, Varhelyi informed that there are two stages concerning this issue and they firstly focus on the removal of the trade irritants of the current customs union which is being implemented since 1996.

"We are discussing all these irritants for the functionality of the current customs union. We have spotted 26 irritants and we have resolved 15 of them. This is an important progress," the commissioner stated.

The second stage is about launching talks for upgrading the customs union, he said, informing that the EU Commission is planning to ask necessary approval from the EU Council on this issue this year. "The Commission will ask for this but the decision belongs to the EU Council," he added.

Varhelyi informed that Türkiye ranks as the EU's fifth trade partner, and the bilateral trade volume in 2023 stood at a record high of 206 billion euros, stressing that the recently founded Türkiye-EU Investment Platform will start its functions next...

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