IR 493 – European Union
The Customs Union Between Turkey and the European Union
Turkey has had strong economic relations with most of today's EU states since the early 1950s, which over the decades got strengthened. It is a well-known fact that Turkey identifies customs union as a valuable step towards westernizing and a full EU membership. Even though in all political, social, and economical aspects Turkey still needs to achieve a great deal in order to satisfy the Copenhagen Criteria for full membership, its accomplishments in recent years proves its determination. However, while collectively trying to adjust to EU policies in the most productive way, Turkey's economic echelon is going through a tough test. In fact there are opposing ideas regarding costs and benefits of Turkey's status in the Customs Union with its current political instability and without being a full EU member. The purpose of my paper is to discuss the outcomes of the customs union agreement for Turkey and come up with my own conclusion about the Customs Union. In order to be efficient, I divided it into sections. I will first give background information about customs union and Turkey's involvement. Later I will try to provide an overview of the trade relations and economy of Turkey prior to the Customs Union. And lastly I will discuss the effects of the Customs Union on Turkey, and also political and financial obstacles disturbing Turkey's full implementation of EU criteria and policies.
Everything started when six member states created what was to become the European Union, in 1958. One of the first steps was to create a tariff union. The tariff union was completed in 1968; all customs duties and restrictions among the six founding states of the community were eliminated and the common customs tariff- an external tariff that applies to the third country goods- was introduced. One culminating step was Single Administrative Document (SAD). In 1988, the SAD was established as a declaration form, which replaced 150 separate documents previously used by the customs administrations in the member states. The community also concluded special agreements to ease trade such as the agreement with European Economic Area, and to encourage development by providing access to European markets1. In 1993, the single market came to life and eliminated the role of customs duties between the member states and allowed the real Customs Union underlying the Community to become apparent to all. In 1994 the customs code consolidated all of the Community customs legislation into a single text and set up a framework for the Community's import and export procedures.
Customs Union Comes into Effect
The Ankara Agreement also known as the Association Agreement, an adapted version of the Athens Treaty, was signed in September 12, 1963 and entered into force in December 1, 1964. By this Association Agreement, Turkey became one of the two countries whose full membership to EC in the future was granted as it satisfies the requirements. The following year the Association Agreement was expanded with the Additional Protocol in November, which clearly pointed out the target as the creation of a customs union between Turkey and EC by December 31, 1995.2 In 1978, partially as a consequence of the Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit concerns about the harmful consequences of moving forward with the achievement of the Customs Union without catching up to the EC counties, Turkey stopped relations with the EC. In 1986, under, prime minister, Turgut Ozal relations ultimately began to return to natural, and a year later, Turgut Ozal thinking that economic incorporation with the EC would be beneficial for the Turkish Economy made Turkey apply for full membership of the EC. 3 On March 6, 1995, as anticipated by the Ankara Treaty and the Additional Protocol, an agreement was signed within the link framework that established the customs...
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