“Negotiations to modernize the Customs Union should begin”

The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President and the European Chamber of Commerce Association (EUROCHAMBRES) Vice President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Negotiations to modernize the Customs Union should begin. Postponement of this issue for political reasons is unjust. This modernization is beneficial for Turkey and the EU.”
Hisarcıklıoğlu spoke at the opening of the 38th Meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee, of which he is co-chair, held in Brussels.
Expressing hope that the meeting will contribute to the development of Turkey-EU relations, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Turkey-EU relations have become more important than ever. Turkey and all EU countries faced with common challenges such as the refugees and illegal migration flows, terrorism, cyber-attacks, rising protectionist tendencies in international trade, climate change and energy security. No single country can fight these problem. This also applies to Turkey and the EU. Therefore, Turkey and the EU must collaborate and combat global problems as never before to.”
Hisarcıklıoğlu said that the previous generation had left behind the world's most important peace project in the EU, and that future generations should leave behind a richer, safer and more peaceful continent.
- “Economic aspects of Turkey and Europe are interconnected”
Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said, pointing out that the accession process is essentially the basis of EU-Turkey relations, “The current top priority of Turkey-EU relations is to ensure progress in the accession negotiations.”
Stating that Turkey and the EU should be in dialogue and close cooperation on matters of economy, social policy, energy, the fight against terrorism, Syrian refugees and foreign policy, Hisarcıklıoğlu stressed that the Customs Union and visa liberalization issues are also on the agenda priority.
Hisarcıklıoğlu, concerning the Customs Union update, “Although European and Turkish business worlds are in agreement, we do not understand why the Customs Union Modernization negotiations still have not begun. The economic aspects of Turkey and Europe interconnected.”
Hisarcıklıoğlu stating that the need to begin negotiations for the modernization of Customs Union, said, “Postponement of this issue for political reasons is unjust. This modernization is beneficial for Turkey and the EU.”
Stressing that Turkey is Europe's 6th largest economy and Europe's 4th major export market, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the EU is Turkey’s largest export market while European investors rank first in Turkey foreign investors.
- “Turkey's commitment in carrying out these reforms is well known”
TOBB President and EUROCHAMBRES Vice President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that Turkey's economic relations with the EU are a guide for its political transformation efforts, noting the following:
“The EU accession process requires comprehensive reforms. We have undergone fundamental reforms, such as the rule of law, the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms and the market economy. Are there any shortcomings? We have a lot of work to be done, we have more steps to take. We are also aware of these reforms. We have to do this for our people and for our economy. Turkey's determination in carrying out these reforms is very well known”
Hisarcıklıoğlu emphasized that the visa issue is one of the priorities, and that visa liberalization is in fact a benefit to both sides and visa liberalization dialogue should be completed as soon as possible.
The meeting was also attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Ambassador Faruk Kaymakçı, Turkey's EU Permanent Representative Ambassador Mehmet Kemal Bozay, TESK President Bendevi Palandöken, TÜRK-İŞ President Ergun Atalay, MEMUR-SEN President Ali Yalçın, Turkey KAMU-SEN President Önder Kahveci TİSK Secretary General Akansel Koç, IKV President and TOBB Deputy Chairman Ayhan Zeytinoğlu KAGİDER Itır Aykut and Turkey Industrial Relations Association Board Member Prof. Dr. Rüçhan Işık.
During the two-day meeting, Turkey-EU relations, SMEs, Development of Trade and Investment Environment Opportunities between Turkey-EU, EU-Turkey accession process, the role of civil society organizations and social partners, as well as the modernization of the EU-Turkey Customs Union and visa dialogue issues were discussed.