Ankara- Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci expected an update of the customs union agreement with the European Union to increase trade between the two sides to 200 billion dollars in 18 months.
Zeybekcin said at the Istanbul Financial Summit that the volume of trade between Turkey and EU could reach 500 billion dollars from its current level of 160 billion dollars within five years.
Turkey is a member of the customs union agreement since 1995. But it has faced challenges in updating it because of obstacles set by Germany, which urged the European Commission in July to suspend preparatory work on negotiations with Turkey about modernizing the union.
Germany claimed that Turkey was violating human rights after it arrested 10 activists, including a German national, accusing them of backing terrorist organizations.
Despite Berlin’s opposition to update the customs union agreement, Germany is considered Turkey’s top trade partner.
Trade volume between the two countries reaches 40 billion dollars, and around 8,000 German companies invest in different Turkish economic sectors, according to Zeybekci.
Meanwhile, Lukoil, Russia’s No.2 oil producer, said it would continue working on European projects and would keep its retail net in Turkey.
Lukoil Chief Executive Vagit Alekperov was quoted as saying that the firm plans to keep pumping 100 million tons of oil per year between 2018 and 2027 with projects outside Russia and will keep annual investment at $8 billion-$8.5 billion.