Turkey Singapore Free Trade Agreement
Turkey, a party to the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1995, implements free trade agreements in accordance with Article XXIV of the 1947 GATT. Under this article, Turkey could give its trading partners more favourable treatment within the framework of a customs union or free trade area, without extending this treatment to all WTO members, subject to certain conditions. If this can be achieved, it will also give substance to Turkey`s stated desire to become an ASEAN partner, whether in the form of a dialogue partner, observer or cooperation partner. Improved economic relations between Turkey and Singapore, not only in merchandise trade, but especially in the form of economic transactions that establish long-term partnerships, such as foreign direct investment, will support Turkey`s right to partnership with ASEAN. TRSFTA is the second free trade agreement between Turkey and a Southeast Asian country after Mit Malaysia, which came into force earlier this year. According to a list published on the website of the Turkish Ministry of Economy, “attempts are underway to begin negotiations” with Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, and these agreements will be crucial to the development of Turkey`s position vis-à-vis ASEAN and Southeast Asia in general. Turkey can become an ASEAN dialogue partner, but it must first become a good trading partner. Prime Minister Yildirim said bilateral trade was on the rise and he was confident that the free trade agreement would lead to an increase in trade volumes between the two countries. Turkey and Singapore ratify the free trade agreement in an important bilateral milestone If it takes effect after parliamentary ratification by both sides, TRSFTA will promote greater trade and investment flows between the two countries. Turkey is already part of Singapore`s global investment plan, with a number of companies such as PSA`s stake in the Mersin port on Turkey`s eastern Mediterranean coast, Temasek Holdings` stake in Halkbank, a bank specializing in financing small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as other investments in the tourism and electronics industry.
Singaporeans seem more interested in the investments and services of the agreement than they were, and they are ready to use Turkey as a gateway for European, Middle Eastern and Central Asian markets, as Japanese and Korean companies did in the 1990s and early 2000s when they benefited from Turkey`s proximity and trade agreements with countries in those regions. Singapore`s Minister of Trade and Industry, Lim Hng Kiang, who recently visited Turkey, explicitly referred to Eastern Europe as the target market: “We know that Turkish companies succeed. You can help Singaporean companies get into these markers, and we can invest together in infrastructure and energy. Without prejudice to WTO provisions, the Turkey-EU customs union provides an important legal basis for Turkey`s free trade agreements. Within the framework of the customs union, Turkey is directing its trade policy towards the EU`s common trade policy. This harmonization concerns both autonomous regimes and preferential agreements with third countries. The Turkey-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (TRSFTA), signed in November 2015, is a comprehensive agreement covering a wide range of areas, including goods and services, e-commerce, competition and transparency. Turkey negotiates and concludes free trade agreements with third countries in parallel with the global trend towards free trade agreements and its commitment to the customs union.