By Yusuf Sahbaz, Tolga Albay and Ahmet Bayram
Talks on updating Turkey’s customs union deal with the EU will continue in the normal way, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci insisted on Friday.
Zeybekci’s remarks follow German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent statement about suspending Turkey-EU talks on the customs union.
"Merkel would not take [such] a decision by herself,” Zeybekci said, speaking in Turkey’s Aegean province of Izmir on the opening day of the 86th Izmir International Fair.
“EU officials had stated that updating the customs union is for the benefit of both parties,” he added.
Despite not being a member of EU, Turkey has had a customs union agreement with the bloc since 1995.
Zeybekci noted that trade volume between Turkey and Germany would reach $40 billion at the end of 2017.
Trade volume between Turkey and Germany also totaled $16.7 billion in the first half of this year, according to Turkish Statistical Institute.
"The loser would be both Turkey and Germany with these statements and falling down of businesses," he added.
Eurasia Customs Union
Zeybekci said Turkey wants to start negotiations on the Eurasian Customs Union, which exists between members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
The EAEU consists of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
In recent years, Turkey has been stressing the importance of using local currencies in foreign trade with its neighbors and major trade partners like Russia, Iran and China to lower the currency conversion costs.
"Our target is to use national currencies in foreign trade. If we do that, we can eliminate the negative effects of foreign exchange volatilities," Zeybekci added.