New markets for Turkish businessmen

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

New markets for Turkish businessmen

ANKARA - Anatolian News Agency

The Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade will begin Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks with four countries in the first half of this year in order to find new markets for Turkish businessmen and to extend current ones, reported the Anatolia news agency.

FTA talks with Georgia, which is a very important country for Turkish businessmen, are estimated to start promptly in the new year. Turkey will take the first step towards a FTA with Georgia, which doesn’t have a FTA with the European Union. Upon the special request of Georgian President Mihail Saakasvili, who visited Turkey last year in December, talks are planned to start in the third week of January.

Also, in the second half of this year, as parallel to the EU’s Common Commercial Policy, Turkey will start FTA talks with Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo.

FTAs have significance for Turkish businessmen in terms of their investments and trade with the relevant countries. Within the framework of mutual concessions, products are imported and exported tax free and this facilitates trade.

On the other hand, the approval process of the FTA signed by State Minister Kürşad Tüzmen with Albania in December in Tirane is expected to be completed by May before Turkey enters an elections atmosphere.

It also reported that the approval process of the FTA signed with Egypt is about to be completed and it will be put into force in the first half of this year. While relations with EU member countries are carried out within the scope of the customs union agreement, Turkey, within the framework of common commercial policy, signs a FTA with each of the countries that has FTAs with the EU.

Turkey already has FTAs with Israel, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. The FTA signed with Syria was put into effect on Jan. 1, 2007.

Turkey’s FTA talks are continuing with Jordan, Lebanon, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait) and the Faroe Islands.

It is also planned to start FTA talks with Algeria, South African Republic, Mexico, Chile, Mercosur (Brasil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) and 36 African countries.