Economic and Trade Relations


Turkey sought closer links with Europe since the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958. On 12 September 1963, such interest was solidified by the signing of the Ankara Agreement, which aimed to accelerate mutual economic progress, expand trade relations and reduce the disparity between Turkey and the EEC. Since that time, EU-Turkey economic relations have expanded dramatically. In 1995, the EU-Turkey Customs Union (CU) was implemented and in 1999, Turkey became a candidate country for accession to the European Union. Accession negotiations subsequently commenced in 2005.

Over the course of several decades, Turkey's economy has become closely integrated with the European Union. The EU-Turkey Customs Union and accession negotiations have played a pivotal role in facilitating this integration, which goes beyond the elimination of customs duties and other restrictions on industrial and processed agricultural products. The CU supported Turkey's alignment with the technical elements of the acquis, encouraged the vertical integration of Turkish firms into European production networks and stimulated the modernization of Turkey's customs administration. Additionally, the ongoing accession negotiations have provided a framework by which Turkey has been able to pursue economic reforms.

The EU as an Essential Economic Partner for Turkey

The European Union is the largest integrated economy and the largest trading block in the world, ranking first in both inbound and outbound international investments. In total, the EU's 28 Member States account for 16% of world imports and exports (2014). Accordingly, the EU stands firmly as a central pillar of the world economy. In the face of widespread instability, it has remained one of the most open economies in the world. Additionally, the EU made full use of its capacity to conclude and implement trade agreements. Today, the European Union has an ambitious agenda for pursuing deep and comprehensive free trade agreements with a variety of partners across the globe.

EU's position in world trade:

The Market Access Database of the Commission provides information to companies exporting from the EU on import conditions in third country markets. This includes information on tariffs, procedures and formalities, statistics, trade barriers, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, rules of origin and services for SMEs.

Market access database:

The European Commission's Export Helpdesk is a valuable online portal, which provides comprehensive information regarding EU tariffs, requirements, preferential arrangements, quotas and statistics relating to imports from trade partner countries.

Export helpdesk: