Now US wants Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement with European Union to include Turkey: who’s next?

TechDirt | 19 March 2013

Now US Wants Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement With European Union To Include Turkey: Who’s Next?

by Glyn Moody

Last week we wrote about the important news that Mexico is asking to join what began as a bilateral trade agreement between the US and Europe, with the suggestion that Canada might follow suit. Now, via @FFII, we learn that even before Mexico’s announcement, the US has been encouraging other countries to join:

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday US Secretary of State John Kerry wanted Turkey to be included in Transatlantic Free-Trade Area (TAFTA).
Davutoglu said they would follow closely the process of Turkey’s inclusion in TAFTA.

As with Mexico’s application, it would seem that the European Union doesn’t get any choice in the matter. But what’s really interesting here is that it confirms the impression that the US is keen to build out TAFTA to include many more countries, including some far from the Atlantic that originally defined it. The big question is now: who’s next on the list?

source: TechDirt

Comment on this article


  • Now US wants Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement with European Union to include Turkey: who’s next?20-March-2013 |

    Next are the EFTA states (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland).

    The article implies that the addition of Mexico, Canada and Turkey is strange or random - and mentions how far Turkey is from the Atlantic, but such logic is flawed. "Transatlantic" is simply a label, not a strict geographical rule for participation. Expansion of TAFTA is quite natural and obvious - it starts as EU-US idea, Mexico and Canada join because they are tightly integrated with the US (in NAFTA), Turkey joins because it’s tightly integrated with the EU (in a Customs Union that actually obliges Turkey to start FTA negotiations with anybody that the EU has a FTA - so this "strange announcement" is simply implementation of the Customs Union agreement). EFTA states will most probably join because they are tightly integrated with the EU (in EEA and bilateral Single Market agreements).

    The "Expanded-TAFTA" can then be further extended and morphed into an OECD FTA (by joining of Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Japan, South Korea - all of those participating in or contemplating the TPP; and Israel). Further down the line that can be combined with the whole TPP (by joining of the rest of TPP states from ASEAN and the Americas). Somewhere along that path a regional EU-ENP (Mediterranean and East Europe) FTA may be established and afterwards merged into TAFTA. The TAFTA-OECD-TPP (and each of the individual integration agreements, if they aren’t merged yet) could gather also additional members from the respective regions (the few which currently don’t participate) and subsequently it can be adopted as a global trade regime under the WTO umbrella (e.g. finally realizing the Doha round - or replacing it).

    The tricky part of the wider agreements is to establish dispute resolution institutions and mechanisms with satisfactory enforcing rights (e.g. penalties against governments, etc.) - wrongly cherished nationalism that only serves to protect ineffective or corrupt status quo (under the disguise of social, environmental or other noble goals) should be strongly resisted - by establishment of supranational institutions, intergovernmental consultation processes and investor-state dispute resolution procedures.

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