Turkey, UK To Negotiate Landmark Free Trade Deal

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While the trade ties between the UK and Turkey continue at full speed, the landmark free trade agreement is planned to be renegotiated to include more sectors in the next two years.

The UK officially quit the EU after 47 years of membership on January 31, 2020, as the 27 members of the bloc approved the Brexit deal on November 25, 2018. On December 24 last year, the UK reached a post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU in a bid to prevent commercial losses after the divorce. A few days later on December 29, the country signed a historic free trade agreement with Turkey.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, Turkey’s exports to the UK rose by 28% year-on-year to US$ 9.7 billion in January-September, while its imports from the country increased by 4.5% to US$ 4.2 billion in the same period.

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Brexit has not affected the UK’s trade relations with Turkey thanks to the historic free trade agreements, Chris Gaunt, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey (BCCT) said. He pointed out that the deal has a clause to enhance and improve the free trade agreements.

“So there’s the opportunity within the next two years to renegotiate the free trade agreements between Turkey and UK to include more sectors and give more opportunity for both Turkish companies and UK companies.” Agriculture, pharmaceuticals, technology, and financial services are areas that offer great potential for both countries, he said.

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The trade ministers of the two countries will meet in the next six to eight months to start the renegotiation process, he stated.

“The UK is Turkey’s second-largest export market. Hopefully in the future UK will be Turkey’s biggest export market,” he said.

Responding to a question on some global companies shifting their production centers to Turkey, Gaunt said Turkey offers a great opportunity and alternative for the Far East, particularly for China.

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“Having something closer with shorter lead times and more flexibility, obviously, is attracting a lot of attention for UK companies, and Turkey has all the attributes, it’s got a strong manufacturing base, it’s got a well-educated workforce. Technology is becoming a far bigger part of the way Turkey, Turkish manufacturers operate,” he said.

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