Turkiye, World, Economy

Turkey, EFTA expand free trade agreement

Updated deal will cover more areas such as services and electronics, says Turkish economy minister

Turkey, EFTA expand free trade agreement


Turkey and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries -- Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland -- on Monday signed an agreement to enlarge their free trade agreement (FTA).

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Saudarkrokur, Iceland, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said: "The revised FTA is a more modern and far-reaching agreement than [Turkey’s] Customs Union with the EU."

He added that they expect the agreement will serve as a model for an updating of that customs union.

The first FTA, which covers trade in industrial products, fish and marine products, and processed agricultural products between Turkey and EFTA countries, was signed in 1991, according to the EFTA's website.

Zeybekci said that the revised FTA would also cover trade in services and electronics and intellectual property.

"After successful negotiations for all sides, facilitating steps were taken for visas, work permits, and critical sectors such as road transport and logistical services, health services and tourism," he stressed.

The EFTA -- set up in 1960 -- promotes free trade and economic integration to the benefit of its member states and their trading partners as an intergovernmental organization.

There are currently over 20 free trade agreements between Turkey and countries worldwide, and Turkish is in negotiations for some 20 more.

*Gokhan Ergocun contributed to the story from Ankara.

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