The free trade agreement, known with its acronym TTIP, currently
being negotiated between the United States and the European Union
is expected to have immense legal implications as well as
commercial ones for the signatories. The numbers are self
explanatory; two blocks when combined together produces almost half
the world's GDP and around one third of the total world trade.
The bilateral trade across the Atlantic has already exceeded USD
3.7 trillion. For these two economic giants to sign such a deal
mean a monumental shift in world economic balances. As the United
States and the European Union are expected to benefit significantly
from such shift, the countries that will be left out will have to
face a new legal regime that would cover the entire jurisdiction
producing half of the world's GDP.
The Thorny Legal Issues
Due to the discreet and intergovernmental nature of the
negotiations it is difficult to know in advance what exactly will
be included in to TTIP. As the Americans made it clear, the
American Administration ardently opposes the inclusion of the
financial services in to the agreement. Given the rift in mentality
between the United States and the European Union where the
Americans are strongly inclined toward de-regulation in financial
markets and the European are for regulation, such a statement by
the American side is most natural. The European side has its
concerns as well; as it made clear that audiovisual services should
be left out due to the concerns that if the current EU regulations
on audiovisual services that are tasked with the safeguarding of
the cultural diversity of the EU replaced with a one negotiated
with the United States through the TTIP talks might turn the EU
cultural climate in to a barren desert of cultural uniformity.
However the thorny issues are not limited with the financial and
audiovisual services. Especially important are the issues related
with the genetically modified food, pharmaceuticals, the safety
standards imposed on the motor vehicle producers, chemicals and the
environmental standards concerning the carbon emissions with regard
to the aviation industry. In all these different business sectors
both the United States and the European Union have diverging
regulations mainly distinguished from one another by a diverging
mentality of low levels regulation v.s high levels of regulations.
Moreover the EU has the additional problem with regard to the
practices adopted by the Court of Justice of the European Union
which tends to grant priority for the Community law over the legal
implications of an international treaty like the TTIP. Hence there
still are outstanding issues between the United States and the
European Union to be resolved before an agreement can be
The Implications for Turkey
The free trade agreement between the U.S and the EU, if signed,
will have implications for the third parties. Turkey as an emerging
economy with strong economic ties to Europe will fell the air of
change in global economic relations. As the bilateral trade with
the European Union consists 60% of the annual Turkish foreign
trade, changes in TTIP shall be keenly followed in Turkey. As the
regulatory standards will be re-negotiated and re-settled between
these two powers from motor vehicles design and safety standards to
carbon emissions, from pharmaceutical products to genetically
modified food, the best way for Turkey is to press for its own
inclusion to the TTIP if possible given its own Customs Union with
the European Union. However the prospects for such an inclusion
does not seem very bright given the signals from both sides of the
Atlantic that this will be an exclusive agreement covering only the
U.S and E.U. Hence for Turkey the attainable goal might be to
restructure its own industry along the lines adopted through TTIP,
once the regulatory changes go public. A quick harmonization of the
Turkish legal and commercial standards with the new legal and
commercial standards adopted by the TTIP will give the Turkish
business a headway for conducting a stable course of bilateral
trade with at least the European part of the signatories as it is
assumed that the Customs Union with Turkey will continue to remain
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