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The EU and Turkey are linked by a Customs Union agreement, which came into force on 31 December 1995.

Turkey has been a candidate country to join the European Union since 1999, and is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.


Better Regulation Agenda

Enhancement of EU-Turkey bilateral trade relations and modernisation of the EU-Turkey Customs Union

Trade picture

  • Turkey is the EU's 5th largest trading partner, both in exports and imports. The EU is by far Turkey's number one import and export partner, as well as source of foreign direct investment (FDI).
  • After several years of rapid growth in the EU-Turkey bilateral trade in goods, in 2018 trade showed a mixed picture, in particular due to the Turkish lira depreciation and broader economic difficulties in Turkey.
  • EU goods exports to Turkey hence fell by 8.9% to €77.3bn, while imports from Turkey rose by 9.1% to €76.1bn. Overall trade in goods thus amounted to €153.4 billion in 2018.
  • EU exports to Turkey are dominated by machinery and transport material, chemical products and manufactured goods.
  • Turkey's exports to the EU are mostly machinery and transport equipment, followed by manufactured goods.
  • Turkey's main export markets are the EU (50%), Iraq, USA, Israel and Russia.
  • Imports into Turkey come from the following key markets: the EU (36%), Russia, China, Indiaand Iran.

EU-Turkey: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2016-2018, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2016 66.6 77.9 11.3
2017 69.8 84.8 15.0
2018 76.1 77.2 1.1

EU-Turkey: Trade in services

Trade in services 2015-2017, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2015 16.7 13.1 -3.7
2016 14.0 12.6 -1.4
2017 14.1 12.6 -1.6

EU-Turkey: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2017, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2017 19.5 68.7 49.2

Date of retrieval: 17/04/2019

More statistics on Turkey

EU and Turkey

The Customs Union entered into force on 31 December 1995. It covers all industrial goods but does not address agriculture (except processed agricultural products), services or public procurement. Bilateral trade concessions apply to agricultural as well as coal and steel products.

More information on Customs Union and preferential arrangements.

In addition to providing for a common external tariff for the products covered, the Customs Union foresees that Turkey is to align to the acquis communautaire in several essential internal market areas, notably with regard to industrial standards.

In December 2016, the Commission proposed to modernise the Customs Union and to further extend the bilateral trade relations to areas such as services, public procurement and sustainable development. The Commission proposal was based on comprehensive preparatory work throughout 2016 which included a public consultation with stakeholders, a detailed Impact Assessment and also a study by an external consultant. However, the Council has not yet adopted the mandate.

Turkey and Euromed

Turkey is member of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership (Euromed) and as such should conclude free trade agreements with all other Mediterranean partners, with a view to the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 neighbours to the EU’s south in North Africa and the Middle East. One important part of this work is to achieve mutually satisfactory trading terms for the Euromed region's partners.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership is an essential component in the pursuit of greater economic integration in the Mediterranean region.

More information on the Euro-Mediterranean partnership

Trading with Turkey