Updated Customs Union 'key' for better EU ties: Turkish trade minister
Updating Turkey's Customs Union with the EU is a "key element" for making progress in ties, said Turkey's trade minister on Wednesday.
"At every opportunity, we underline that our strategic goal is full EU membership," Ruhsar Pekcan underlined in a written statement following her virtual meeting with Oliver Varhelyi, European commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement.
Pekcan said the Customs Union relationship, a stage of the full membership process between the two parties, to date had achieved many mutual gains, but its current structure is no longer sufficient to respond to modern-day needs.
Pointing to the importance of expanding the Customs Union to include new areas such as e-commerce and services, she said the business community in EU countries also supports this process.
Along these lines, she pointed to the EU Leaders Summit this March, where concrete steps are expected.
On EU measures on steel products, she said its measures should be revised according to the agreements and spirit of partnership between the two parties.
"The EU should adopt an approach worthy of the importance of bilateral relations, and the obstacles to the introduction of Turkish steel to the EU market in accordance with competition rules should be removed."
EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL
Pekcan also evaluated the effects of the European Green Deal on the Customs Union, stressing that the steps the EU takes in this context should not turn into protectionism but instead focus on developing cooperation that will contribute to the EU's strategic goals.
As a membership candidate and Customs Union partner of the EU, "it is critical for Turkey to have access to funding created for green transformation," she said.
Varhelyi confirmed that updating the Customs Union will have positive effects for both sides.
"The EU is striving for a positive agenda. We see it as beneficial for both sides to continue their joint and constructive work for this agenda," he said.