Dunya - Free trade agreements (FTA) constitute an important tool in developing economic cooperation, encouraging liberalization of goods trade and establishing fair competitive conditions in bilateral trade. Exports to the countries Turkey has signed FTA with rose ten percent in the first ten months of 2009. Free trade deals helped Turkey avoid the fallout from the economic crisis and supported an increase in exports, according to the figures.
In 2008, exports to countries Turkey has deals with totaled USD 12 billion, and their share in the overall exports was ten percent. To date, Turkey has signed free trade agreements with 12 countries to harmonize with the European Union's preferential customs regimes within the scope of the Customs Union, according to the Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade.
Talks on new free trade deals are currently underway with Lebanon, the Gulf Cooperation Council (which includes the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain), and MERCOSUR, a regional trade agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, the Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Mauritius, Seychelles and Libya. The aim is to complete the deals as soon as possible.
There are also initiatives to launch free trade talks with countries and blocs such as Algeria, Mexico, the Southern African Customs Union, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).