Responding to the launch of a UK Government consultation on negotiations for an upgraded trade agreement with Turkey, BCC Head of Trade Policy William Bain said:
“It is good news to see this statement of intent to deepen UK trading terms with Turkey. It is our 18th largest bilateral trading partner worth £23.5bn in total trade in 2022.
“Currently, three quarters of UK exports to Turkey are in goods, so a key aim of these negotiations must be to keep that secure while expanding scope for services exports.
“An upgraded free trade agreement must focus on being match-fit for the 21st Century. This means negotiating new arrangements on services, business and labour mobility, green trade and digital trade. All areas we flagged in our new Trade Manifesto.
“Only 6% of UK VAT registered exporters trade goods and services with customers in Turkey – a refreshed agreement needs to work in practice to raise that share.”
The UK’s current trade agreement with Turkey was a roll-over deal reached a few days after the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and the EU was made in late December 2020.
Turkey has a partial customs union and regulatory relationship with the EU which forms the background to what can be negotiated with the UK.
Mr Bain said: “Issues around rules of origin are being consistently raised by UK companies trading in the European neighbourhood. The BCC would like the UK to join the Pan-Euro Mediterranean (PEM) Convention which would offer greater flexibility for traders seeking to sell manufactured goods in the EU, Turkey, and the rest of the European neighbourhood within the Convention.
“There will also be an overlap therefore between trade issues we would want to agree bilaterally with Turkey, and the wider review of the operation of the TCA in 2025/6.
“As these negotiations look to get underway later this year, securing a future looking, upgraded set of trading terms with Turkey is a key part of achieving closer economic relations for UK businesses across the European neighbourhood in the coming years.”
The existing UK-Turkey continuity trade agreement can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963851/CS_Turkey_1.2021_UK_Turkey_Free_Trade_Agreement.pdf