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UK, Turkey to sign free trade deal on Tuesday

Liz Truss Speaks

Britain and Turkey are set to sign a free trade deal on Tuesday, the UK trade ministry said on Sunday, the first since Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a new trade agreement with the European Union.

The two nations will sign a deal that replicates the existing trading terms between Ankara and London, but British trade minister Liz Truss said that she was hopeful a bespoke deal between the countries could be struck soon.

“The deal we expect to sign this week locks in tariff-free trading arrangements and will help support our trading relationship. It will provide certainty for thousands of jobs across the UK in the manufacturing, automotive and steel industries,” Truss said in a statement.

“We now look forward to working with Turkey towards an ambitious tailor-made UK-Turkey trade agreement in the near future.”

The two nations have finalised the text of a “continuity agreement” that replicates the existing trading terms between Ankara — which has a customs union agreement with Brussels — and London.

The trading relationship was worth £18.6 billion ($25.25 billion) in 2019, and Britain said it was the fifth biggest trade deal the trade ministry had negotiated after agreements with Japan, Canada, Switzerland and Norway.

“The UK is the biggest export market for home appliances that are manufactured in Turkey,” Hakan Bulgurlu, chief executive of the Turkish manufacturer Arcelik, which trades under the name Beko in Europe, told the Financial Times. “We welcome the efforts to quickly finalise a free trade agreement between Turkey and the UK that will maintain the essence of our no-tariff, no-quota partnership.”

Britain has now signed trade agreements with 62 countries ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period on Jan. 1, when it leaves the EU’s trading arrangements.

It clinched its narrow trade deal with the EU, its biggest trading partner, last week.

The document is expected to be signed this week by representatives from each side in a video call. An exchange of diplomatic notes will then allow the deal to come into force even though there is not enough time for it to be ratified by the two countries’ parliaments before the UK leaves the EU single market on December 31.

 

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