The Ankara Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) was signed in 1996 between Turkey and the European Union. The goal of the agreement was to create a free trade area between the two parties, which would allow for the free movement of goods, services, and investments. Since its enactment, the agreement has had a significant impact on both Turkey and the EU.
One of the main benefits of AFTA is the reduction of tariffs on goods traded between Turkey and the EU. This has led to increased trade and a boost in economic growth for both parties. According to the European Commission, trade between the EU and Turkey has quadrupled since the agreement was signed, with the EU being Turkey’s largest trading partner.
AFTA has also had an important impact in terms of job creation. By increasing trade between the EU and Turkey, the agreement has created new opportunities for businesses and workers alike. In particular, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been able to take advantage of the agreement to expand their businesses and increase their revenue.
Another key benefit of AFTA is the increased cooperation between Turkey and the EU. The agreement has provided an important platform for dialogue and collaboration between the two parties in a range of areas, including political and cultural exchanges.
However, the agreement has also faced some challenges. One of the main criticisms of AFTA is that it has led to a significant trade deficit for Turkey with the EU. Since the agreement was signed, Turkey has become increasingly dependent on imports from the EU, which has put pressure on Turkish businesses and industries.
There have also been concerns about the impact of AFTA on certain sectors, such as agriculture, which has faced increased competition from EU imports. In response, the Turkish government has implemented measures to protect domestic industries, such as imposing tariffs on imported goods.
Overall, the Ankara Free Trade Agreement has had a significant impact on both Turkey and the European Union. While there have been challenges, the agreement has provided important benefits in terms of increased trade, job creation, and cooperation between the two parties. As such, it remains a key pillar of Turkey-EU relations and an important driver of economic growth and development.