Customs Union with EU


Source: Prime Ministry, Undersecretariat of Treasury


On January 1st 1996, the Customs Union between the European Union and Türkiye came into effect, thereby creating the closest economic and political relationship between the EU and any non-member country.


Essentially the Customs Union gives Türkiye improved access to the group of countries previously known as the Common Market. It guarantees the free circulation of industrial goods and processed agricultural products. Customs duties and charges have been abolished and quantitative restrictions such as quotas are prohibited. The Customs Union involves harmonisation of Türkiye's commercial and competition policies including intellectual property laws with those of the European Union and it extends most of the EU's trade and competition rules to the Turkish economy.


The chief characteristic of the Customs Union is that goods will move freely between the EU and Türkiye without being subject to customs duties or quantitative restrictions; it covers all aspects of trade and commercial policy to ensure there is a "level playing field" for Turkish and European firms. The main features of this Decision are:


- the elimination of customs duties, quantitative restrictions and measures of equivalent effect on trade in industrial goods, including processed agricultural products, between Türkiye and the EU.


- the adoption by Türkiye of the EU's Common External Tariff in its trade with third countries.


- the adoption by Türkiye of measures equivalent to the EU's common commercial policy.


- progressive alignment of tariffs by Türkiye in line with the EU's preferential trading arrangements with certain third countries.


- the adoption by Türkiye of customs provisions in line with those of the EC.


- agreed competition rules and the alignment by Türkiye of its legislation in this area with that of the EC.


- the adoption by Türkiye of legislation in the field of intellectual property protection to secure a level of protection equivalent to that in the EC.


- the abolition by the EC of Voluntary Restraint Arrangements in trade in textiles with Türkiye.


- the formation of an EC/Türkiye Customs Union Joint Committee and the adoption of other institutional arrangements to enable Türkiye to be properly informed of, and formally consulted about policy formulation in the EC on matters which affect the Customs Union.


During the Association Council meeting, a Resolution was also adopted in accompanying areas which provides for the intensification of cooperation between the European Union and Türkiye in the fields which are not covered by the Customs Union ie. industrial cooperation, Trans-European networks, cooperation on energy, transport, telecommunications, agriculture, environment, science, statistics, matters relating to justice and home affairs, consumer protection, cultural cooperation, information and communication.


Upon entry into force of the Customs Union Decision, Türkiye cut all duties and equivalent charges on imports of industrial goods from members of the EU to zero. Furthermore, Türkiye harmonised its tariffs and equivalent charges on the import of industrial goods from "third countries" with the Common External Tariff of the EU, and will progressively adopt EU commercial policy and preferential tariff policies within 5 years. For certain specifically identified "sensitive" products Türkiye will maintain rates of protection above those specified in the Common Customs Tariff for imports originating in third countries for up to five years. These products include mainly ceramic products, motor vehicles and footwear.


Harmonisation work so far with the EU's commercial policy includes monitoring and safeguarding measures on imports both from the EU and third countries, the management of quantitative restrictions and tariff quotas and the prevention of dumped and subsidised imports.


Türkiye has adopted EU rules and legislation on competition. Subsidies through State resources in any form whatsoever which distort or threaten to distort competition are banned. However assistance to promote economic development in Türkiye's less developed regions and assistance intended to promote cultural and heritage conservation and which does not adversely affect competition will be allowed. On the other hand, Türkiye will progressively adjust any state monopoly of a commercial character so as to ensure that no discrimination exists in the conditions under which goods are produced or marketed between nationals of EU member countries and Türkiye.


Türkiye has harmonised its laws with EU legislation eliminating technical barriers to trade. There is now effective cooperation between Türkiye and the EU in the fields of standardisation, calibration, quality, accreditation, testing and certification. Türkiye has also harmonised its legislation on intellectual, industrial and commercial property to EU standards and has implemented laws covering consumer protection, and the protection of competition. Both sides are banned from using internal taxes as indirect protection mechanisms and from using tax rebates as export subsidies.  Top


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