On December 29, 2020, Turkey and the United Kingdom signed a Free Trade Agreement (“Agreement“). The Agreement entered into force on January 1, 2021.
What Does the Agreement Mean?
The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020, and a transition period was in place until the end of the year. A week before the transition period ended, on January 24, 2020, the United Kingdom and the European Union reached a deal.
Turkey and the European Union are linked by the Customs Union Agreement, which came into force in 1995. With the end of the Brexit transition period, the United Kingdom would have no longer be a party to the Customs Union, resulting in the loss of the advantageous position in bilateral trade relations. Therefore, securing a separate trade agreement was of great importance to ensure the continuity of the existing trading terms. On December 29, 2020, immediately after the United Kingdom reached the post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, the United Kingdom and Turkey signed the Agreement.
The United Kingdom is Turkey’s second-biggest export market after Germany. The total trade amount between the two countries was USD 16.8 billion for 2019, of which USD 11.2 billion dollars were from exports and USD 5.6 billion from imports. The Agreement is of utmost importance to the business world at large and is a significant commercial advantage for Turkey over its competitors in international trade.
Scope of the Agreement
- The Agreement entered into force on January 1, 2021, ensuring the continuity of trade without any time gap.
- The Agreement covers all industrial and agricultural products.
- The Agreement removes tariffs on industrial products, and scales and reflects existing concessions with the EU on agricultural products in the new trade deal.
- The Agreement contains a provision wherein the parties will review the scope of the Agreement within two years. In this regard, it is aimed that the scope of the Agreement will expand to include other investment and service sectors.
The Agreement concluded with the United Kingdom is one of the important trade agreements that Turkey recently signed. The Agreement ensures the continuity of the tariff-free trade between Turkey and the United Kingdom. The Agreement also paves the way for more comprehensive regulations that will improve the trade and investment relations between the two countries.