Turkey and Britain signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday, ensuring a continuity of commerce after Britain leaves the European Union’s (EU) single market and customs union this week.
The agreement will go into effect on Jan. 1, said Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan in a video conference with her British counterpart, Liz Truss.
It comes after the EU and Britain thrashed out a trade deal last week.
Pekcan described Tuesday’s agreement as a “historic deal,” as it replicates the existing terms of trade between Turkey – which has a customs union agreement with the EU – and Britain, which leaves the bloc’s single market on Dec. 31.
Without it, Turkey would have suffered losses close to 2.4 billion dollars in exports to Britain because of additional tax liabilities, Pekcan said.
Trade between Turkey and Britain was worth 18.6 billion pounds (25.1 billion dollars) in 2019, according to the International Trade Ministry in London.
The agreement is a major win for Britain’s automotive, manufacturing and steel industries, the ministry said, with preferential tariffs for the 7,600 businesses that exported goods to Turkey last year.
Britain is Turkey’s second-largest exports market after Germany.
The agreement for tariff-free trade covers all agriculture and industrial products, Pekcan said, adding that Turkey would work towards expanding it to include investments and services too.
Truss said “it paves the way for a new, more ambitious deal with Turkey in the near future, and is part of our plan to put the UK at the centre of a network of modern agreements with dynamic economies.” (dpa/NAN)