Turkey and the United Kingdom signed a free trade deal on Tuesday, days before Britain formally leaves the European Union, to keep up the existing flow of goods.
The trade ministers of the two countries signed the agreement in a televised videoconference call. It takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021, ensuring a quick transition after an existing deal ends at year end, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said.
The UK trade ministry said on Sunday the deal would replicate existing trading terms. The trading relationship was worth 18.6 billion pounds ($25.25 billion) in 2019.
The landmark Turkey-UK free trade agreement set to be signed on Tuesday will usher a new era in bilateral economic and trade ties starting Jan. 1, Turkey’s trade minister said on Monday.
“This new era in our relations will be mutually beneficial for both Turkey and the UK,” Ruhsar Pekcan tweeted.
The pact will form a new basis and framework for bilateral relations, she said.
The free trade agreement, “which aims at furthering our trade volume, represents a critical milestone on the way to deepen our relations on a win-win basis,” Pekcan said.
She added that the pact, negotiations for which started in 2017, represents the second-most important trade deal for Turkey following the 1995 Customs Union with the EU.
“I wish this agreement will bring fruitful outcomes for our countries and business circles.”
On Sunday, noting that the UK is Turkey’s second-biggest export market, Britain’s Financial Times newspaper quoted International Trade Secretary Liz Truss as saying: “The deal we expect to sign this week locks in tariff-free trading arrangements and will help support our trading relationship, worth £18.6 billion last year.”
On Dec. 24, the UK and EU reached a post-Brexit trade agreement after five years of bitter negotiations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the new Turkey-UK deal earlier in the day.