EU wants to upgrade customs arrangements with Turkey

DefenseAssociated Press

The European Union wants to launch talks with Turkey to update their customs union, which at present only applies to goods.

The EU's executive Commission said Wednesday it would like to see it include agriculture, services and public procurement.

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The Commission predicts that such a move would increase EU exports to Turkey by 27 billion euros ($28 billion) each year and raise imports by 5 billion euros.

It said in a statement that "respect of democracy and fundamental rights will be an essential element of the agreement."

The Commission now requires the unanimous endorsement of the 28 EU member states on a mandate to launch the talks. The agreement could be concluded in about three years.