During the 85th edition of the International Izmir Fair, the Turkish economic minister Nihai Zeybekci stated that Turkey works on drafting a proposal to begin the negotiations with the Eurasian Economic Union for signing a customs agreement. According to the minister, such action does not breach the corresponding agreements with the European Union but shows Turkey’s desire to establish separated cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union.
Turkish minister of economy considers that the 30% trade growth between Turkey and Russia in 2016 represents just the beginning, the new free trade agreement will lead to a new level of partnership.
According to the information shown by AzerNews, the main reason for Turkey’s proposal is the enhancement of the cooperation with Russia. Turkish economy minister Nihat Zeybekci considers that there are many sectors to cooperate in (mentioning the petrochemical and the agricultural one), which shows potential for a new level of partnership. In 2016, Russia imposed a series of economic sanctions against Turkey including removal of the free-visa travel of Turkish citizens in its territory but also banning the product imports and raising limits on Turkish residents and companies doing business in Russia, after Ankara acted against Russia.
According to the official press release of the Russian presidency, during the meeting between Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s president Recep Erdogan in May 2017 in Sochi, the full restauration of bilateral relations and resuming the cooperation between the two partners has been announced.
According to the official press release published by the ministry of economy at the end of last month, Turkey takes into account its trade activities with the EU and tries to expand its agreements with strategic countries in order to balance trade and diversify its economic activities.
Beside trade agreements with the EU, Turkey laid the foundation for a vast network of free trade agreements with many of its neighboring countries and has the objective to continue the expansion of these activities to the Far-East countries as well, member states of the ASEAN community.
The information released in the press show that Turkey has already established an agenda of economic partnerships hoping that it could link itself to various regions of the worlds. For achieving such objectives, one of the largest economic partners is represented by the Eurasian region which outstands itself more and more as a favorable partner for improving commercial relations.
In addition, the Turkish economy minister Nihat Zeybekci declared that the Joint Investment Fund with Russia will begin its activity in this year and it is waiting for the free trade agreement on service and investment sectors between Turkey and Russia this year or the latest in the first half of 2018.
The Eurasian Economic Union is a customs union and among its members are Russia, Kazahstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. For the goods coming from the member states of the EEU there are no customs taxes applicable. In addition, when exporting goods, there are no added value taxes and the they benefit from excise tax exemptions if proper documentation is provided.
Armenia however has a critical position on Turkey’s possibility of free trade agreement proposal between itself and EEU. The Armenian Deputy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Shavarsh Kocharyan stated that such a proposal must be agreed by al the EEU’s member states, referring to the closing of the borders by Turkey in 1993 and the fact that the closed border is the only way of communication by Turkey with the EEU. According to the information available on the official website of the Armenian ministry of foreign affairs, Turkey refuses to have diplomatic relations with the Armenian Republic.
According to the press agency ArmenPress, the latest statements of the Armenian minister of economic development and investments Suren Karayan has commented on the possible proposal of Turkey considering that Armenia’s position has been made public and bringing to discussion the fact that the decisions within the EEU are made based on the consensus principle and Armenia will express its position.