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Turkey : Customs Unions and preferential arrangements

a) General introduction

The final phase of the relations between the European Community (EC) and Turkey under the Ankara Association Agreement 1963 was to achieve the EC-Turkey Customs Union. This final phase entered into force on 31 December 1995.

The scope of this customs union, based on the status of goods in free circulation, is however limited to industrial products and processed agricultural products. It does not cover:

- agricultural products, as defined in Annex I of the Amsterdam Treaty;

- coal and steel products

These two categories are subject only to preferential agreements based on their originating status.

b) Legal framework

Association and Customs Union

NOTICE: Where reference is made to general concepts such as "minimal operations", "drawback", "bilateral cumulation", "territoriality" and "accounting segregation", the reader should see the explanations given in Preferential origin, General aspects of Preferential origin, under Provisions common to most preferential arrangements.

The Ankara Agreement of 12.09.1963 (OJ L 217, 29.12.1964) and its Additional Protocol of 23.11.1970 (OJ L 293, 29.12.1972) define the scope and content of the association relationship, while the final phase of the customs union is defined in Decision 1/95of the Association Council of 22.12.1995 (OJ L 35, 13.02.1996).

Decision No 1/95 implies:

  • free movement (elimination of customs duties and quantitative restrictions) between the two parts of the customs union for goods either wholly produced or put in free circulation after their importation from third countries in either Turkey or the Union. The proof of this customs status of 'goods in free circulation' is established by an A.TR. movement certificate. Special conditions are laid down for processed agricultural products;
  • alignment of Turkey on Community common customs tariff, including preferential arrangements, and harmonisation of commercial policy measures;
  • approximation of customs law, in particular through Decisions of the Customs Co-operation Committee (e.g. Decision No 1/2001) and mutual assistance in customs matters;
  • approximation of other laws (intellectual property, competition, taxation, ...).

After the abrogation of Decision No 1/2001 of the EC-Turkey Customs Co-operation Committee of 28.03.2001 (OJ L 98, 7.04.2001), Decision No 1/2006pdf of the EC-Turkey Customs Co-operation Committee of 26.07.2006 (OJ L 265 of 26.09.2006) resets out implementing customs provisions of Decision No 1/95, applicable to trade in goods between the two parts of the customs union and with third countries.

 

Preferential agreement on agricultural products

The EC-Turkey trade agreement for agricultural products (Annex I Amsterdam Treaty: see list of products pdf Choose translations of the previous link  concerned) results from Decision No 1/98pdf of the Association Council of 25.02.1998 (OJ L 86 of 20.03.1998) as last amended by Decision No 3/2006pdf Choose translations of the previous link  of the EC-Turkey Association Council of 19 December 2006, amending Protocol 3 on rules of origin.

Protocol No 3 related to rules of origin is in line with the pan-Euro-Mediterranean Protocol.

 

Preferential agreement on coal and steel

The trade arrangement for coal and steel products results from an Agreement of 25.07.1996 between Turkey and the then still existing ECSC (OJ L 227, 7.09.1996). Those products are now covered by the EC Treaty but remain outside of the scope of the customs union. Rules of origin are laid down in its Protocol No 1, as amended lastly by Decision No 1/2009 of the ECSC-Turkey Joint Committee (OJ L 143, 06.06.2009).

Protocol No 1 related to rules of origin is in line with the pan-EuromMediterranean Protocol.

 

c) Customs Union and Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Cumulation

In the context of pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation, it may be necessary to determine the originating status of goods, which are in free circulation in the Customs Union but will be exported or used in the production of products to be exported to other countries belonging to the pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation of origin. For that purpose, Decision No 1/2006pdf of the EC-Turkey Customs Co-operation Committee of 26.07.2006 (OJ L 265, 26.09.2006) abrogates Decision No 1/1999 of the EC-Turkey Customs Co-operation Committee of 28.05.1999 (OJ L 204, 04.08.1999) and resets out the provisions providing that a 'supplier's declaration' is furnished to the exporter and used by him as supporting evidence to establish the proof of origin in the context of the preferential agreements with other countries in the pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation.

Decision No 1/2006pdf also abrogates Decision No 1/2000 of the EC-Turkey Customs Co-operation Committee of 25.07.2000 (OJ L 211, 22.08.2000) and resets out the provisions providing that goods fulfilling the condition for free movement within the customs union but traded between the EU and Turkey through other countries belonging to the pan-Euro-Mediterranean system of cumulation can benefit from the customs union insofar as proofs of Community or Turkish origin are established in one of the countries concerned.