Without prejudice to WTO provisions, the Turkey-EU customs union provides an important legal basis for Turkey`s free trade agreements. Within the framework of the customs union, Turkey is directing its trade policy towards the EU`s common trade policy. This harmonization concerns both autonomous regimes and preferential agreements with third countries. Instead of focusing on a free trade agreement, Pretoria felt that a mutually beneficial relationship would be better served by cooperation that would “establish complementarities in our economies and in our trade and investment relations.” South Africa is one of the priority destinations for Turkish businesses, as it is an open economy with a well-established market and quality infrastructure. “The firm has approved that South Africa promotes a mutually beneficial, cooperative and balanced approach to establishing trade and investment relations with Turkey and avoids destructive competition that could result from the ineffective management of a free trade agreement,” firm spokesman Jimmy Manyi said Thursday. In order to stimulate and facilitate trade and investment, the following agreements have been signed: NOTE: There is a disparity between the trade figures cited by customs authorities and excise authorities and the Turkish authorities. This is mainly due to the fact that the SA figures show the trade figures on the basis of the “first destination country”, while the Turkish figures show trade figures based on the “country of origin of origin”. It stressed that the main Turkish retail brands would strengthen their presence in South Africa, either through franchise agreements or through direct investment in retail in the country. During his visit to the country, Erdogan spoke lovingly of the continent, calling him an eternal friend, while pledging to deal with trade and bilateral relations with more African countries.

In today`s world, countries tend to enter into bilateral and regional free trade agreements, as the World Trade Organization (WTO) has achieved a high level of liberalization, with insufficient WTO rules under current conditions and an inefficient multilateral trading system to allow better market access. As a result of this trend, some 400 free trade agreements are being notified to the WTO. “During my tenure, I have been pleased to see that some of the leading Turkish brands are entering the South African retail market, such as Ramsey, Damat, LC Waikiki, Enza Home and Dogtas,” said Ulgen. Free trade agreements with Lebanon, Kosovo, Sudan, Qatar and Venezuela are being ratified. Turkey, a party to the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1995, implements free trade agreements in accordance with Article XXIV of the 1947 GATT. Under this article, Turkey could give its trading partners more favourable treatment within the framework of a customs union or free trade area, without extending this treatment to all WTO members, subject to certain conditions. South Africa and Turkey first established relations at the Consulate General level with the Istanbul office in August 1991. This office was later closed. Full diplomatic relations were established in October 1992. The South African Embassy is located in Ankara. The ptoms said it hoped that the rapid entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) would make South Africa more attractive to Turkish companies wishing to invest. AfCFTA is a free trade area among 54 of the 55 members of the African Union.