22 years! 22 years have passed since the launch of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union (EU) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Bolstered by the prospects of a first inter-regional trade agreement of its kind, both parties entered negotiations in 1991 with great aspirations. Needless to say, both sides saw in this agreement invaluable economic opportunities; in a nutshell: Gulf countries looked to the EU as a major actor in international trade characterized by its strong and attractive common market with dollar-billed eyes; Europeans saw in the GCC a grouping of six Gulf countries so rich in energy reserves to make energy supply concerns a bad dream of the past. Continue reading
By Jacqueline Breidlid
Benefits of a possible EU-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are widely believed to be high. Mutual trade liberalisation would boost exports on both sides and could, according to Barroso, act as a “game changer” with regard to the current financial crisis. Yet for one player, ongoing negotiations have rung an alarm bell: Turkey.
Turkey has been a member of the Customs Union since 1995 and since then benefited from free circulation of industrial goods between itself and the EU internal market. The Customs Union however also meant that it had to, not only adopt the external tariff of the EU, but also to bring its trade policy in line with that of the EU. This again implies that every time the EU concludes an FTA with another party, Turkey has to negotiate a similar agreement with the same party… and that without having a say in the decision-making leading up to the conclusion of the FTA or a guarantee that the other party is actually interested in negotiating an extra-FTA with Turkey.