Without prejudice to WTO provisions, the Turkey-EU Customs Union is an important legal basis for Turkish Free Trade Agreements (FTA). Within the framework of the Customs Union, Turkey is orienting its trade policy towards the EU`s common commercial policy. This alignment concerns both autonomous regimes and preferential agreements with third countries. The Turkey-EU Customs Union has abolished customs duties, quantitative restrictions and measures with equivalent effect in trade in industrial goods in order to guarantee the free movement of goods. As a result of the customs union, Turkey opened its internal market to competition in the EU and third countries and guaranteed its exporters free access to the EU market. In line with this strategy to increase its competitiveness in global markets, the EU has started to negotiate free trade agreements with specific provisions on services, investment, public procurement and intellectual property rights. Turkey is preparing for such a changing environment. After starting or starting negotiations in parallel with the EU, Turkey is also adapting to the wide range of agreements and is negotiating new generation free trade agreements with its potential partners. The EU and Turkey are bound by a customs union agreement which entered into force on 31 December 1995.

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