Economic recovery during the coronavirus period can be ensured through international cooperation, Turkey’s trade minister said Thursday. 

“In the period ahead, we must work to further deepen Turkish-EU trade and economic relations, and establish closer integration in the value chain,” Ruhsar Pekcan told a videoconference with EU countries’ ambassadors.

She stressed that coronavirus-related hurdles can be overcome through the spirit of unity.

Touching on the practice of contactless trade to fight the virus, she said the use of railway and Ro-Ro transportation in trade will be at the forefront in the post-pandemic era.

She also requested the ambassadors’ support to get flexibility in issuing longer-term visas for truck drivers in order to ensure efficiency of the transportation system.

Pointing to the importance of e-commerce platforms, whose share has surged during the pandemic, Pekcan lamented that Turkey’s Customs Union with the EU does not include services or e-commerce.

“This is a huge deficiency,” she said.

“I hope that member states will see that the current situation cannot adequately serve the interests of the parties, and would give the negotiating mandate for updating the EU-Turkey Customs Union deal to the Commission without further delay,” Pekcan noted.

Turkey has long pressed the EU to update the Customs Union, arguing that doing so would benefit both sides.

Pekcan added that reaching a free trade agreement with the UK in the wake of Brexit and enacting it by the beginning of next year are among Turkey’s priorities.

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