EC Report: Lifting Turkish Truck Quotas By Europeans Would Boost Trade, Jobs
A recent report prepared by the European Commission revealed that trade volume between member states of the European Union and Turkey would increase by $3.84 billion a year if quotas imposed on EU-bound Turkish cargo trucks were lifted.
The EU remains Turkey’s largest trading partner, but its stake in the country’s total exports has dropped from 60 percent to 43 percent in the last decade. Turkish exporters say EU countries have imposed unfair quotas on Turkish exports, even though Turkey has a customs union agreement with the EU.
The Istanbul-based International Transporters Association (UND) touted the findings of the report as support by the EU of its long-standing opposition to the quotas. The association has filed complaints with the European Commission against seven countries.
The current quotas, currently imposed by 24 out of 28 EU member states, limit the number of Turkish trucks entering the EU, according to the UND. The restrictions predominently affect the Turkish textile sector, followed by machinery and the metal industry. Other industries adversely affected by the quotas are food, agriculture, and chemicals.
The timing of the EC report is interesting because the EU-Turkey customs agreement is up for renogotiation. In May, Turkey and the EU agreed to modernize their 20-year-old customs union after having reached a compromise to expand bilateral trade ties. Before that agreement was made, Turkey had threatened to suspend the customs union as a response to its absence from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
If all quotas applied to Turkish transporter trucks were to be lifted, Turkish exports to the EU would increase by $2.1 billion and the volume of imports from the EU will surge by $1.8 billion a year, according to the UND’s reading of the commission report. The commission report also stated that the likely increase in trade would generate 14,000 new jobs within the EU and 25,000 in Turkey.