On October 27, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in partnership with the Turkish Industry & Business Association (TüSIAD), hosted a panel discussion on “deepening Turkey’s Customs Union with TTIP Perspectives” in Berlin. Due to the customs union between Turkey and the European Union, Turkey needs to apply EU trade policy towards the United States while the United States does not have such an obligation towards Turkey. Therefore, Turkey stands to lose if it is not included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) at some level.
Heike MacKerron, director of GMF’s Berlin office, and Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ from DoğanTV Holding provided introductory remarks. MacKerron talked about the challenge that TTIP poses for Europe and the United States given that the transatlantic economy represents roughly 50% of the global GDP and 40 % of purchasing power. She also pointed towards the risk that regional trading blocs may lead to divergent trading systems and rivalries.
The discussion focused on the challenges Turkey may face when TTIP negotiations conclude with a trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. It was assessed that Turkey is in a similar situation with the EU as Mexico and Canada as part of NAFTA with the United States. Bruce Stokes argued that Turkey is indeed a key country for the United States albeit not in economic terms. It was agreed that before a possible accession of Turkey, or for that matter, Mexico & Canada, to TTIP, ratification and rule setting by the founding members would be needed. The Turkish Ambassador Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu concluded the event with thoughtful remarks. Panelists included Cemalettin Damlaci (Ministry of Economy for Turkey), Martin Raiser (World Bank), Stefan Mair (BDI), Günter Verheugen (European Commission), Erdal Yalcin (IFO), and Bruce Stokes (Pew Research Center). Bahadir Kalegasi (TüSIAD) moderated the event.