The UK and Turkey signed an agreement on a free trade zone that will enter into force on January 1, 2021.
Reported by The Guardian.
The signing ceremony took place in Ankara on December 29 with the participation of the trade ministers of the two countries via videoconference.
The agreement will ensure the unimpeded movement of goods between countries after January 1, when Britain will no longer enter the EU single market.
The UK is the second-largest market for Turkish exports, with the largest share in precious metals, automobiles, textiles, and electrical equipment. In 2019, trade between the countries was £18.6 billion.
Although Turkey is not a member of the EU, it is part of a customs union with the EU, so a separate agreement between Britain and Turkey could not be signed until the completion of negotiations between the EU and London on their further trade relations.
“Today’s agreement provides confidence in the future for business and supports thousands of jobs … It is also a step towards a new, more ambitious agreement with Turkey in the near future and is part of our plan to make Britain the center of a network of modern agreements with dynamic economies.” — said the secretary for international trade, Elizabeth Truss.
“Without this agreement, about 75% of Turkish exports could fall under duties, which would entail a loss of about $2.4 billion, now there is no such risk,” Turkish Trade Minister Rukhsar Pekcan said.
The British Department of International Trade notes that the agreement will provide preferential treatment for 7,600 British enterprises exporting machinery, iron, and steel to Turkey.
Despite the fact that both countries do not have time to ratify the agreement by the end of the year, it will enter into force on January 1.
The countries are expected to continue discussions to expand the agreement on services and argon products over the next two years.
As noted by The Guardian, this is already the 62nd agreement signed by Britain amid preparations for its final exit from the EU and the single market, and the fifth largest agreement — after agreements with Japan, Canada, Switzerland, and Norway.