Customs in Turkey

Goods imported into Turkey may be subject to various charges: customs taxes and levies (customs tariffs, and the mass housing fund levy); and internal taxes (excise duties also known as the Special Consumption Tax, the VAT, and the stamp duty). As a result of its participation in the customs union with the EC, Turkey has, since 1996, based its tariff on all industrial products and the industrial components of processed agricultural products (imported from third countries), on the EC common external tariff. Aside from the EC, Turkey provides tariff preferences to EFTA member states, and under nine bilateral trade agreements; negotiations are continuing with several other countries. It is also part of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership aimed at establishing a freetrade area in the region by 2010.

Turkey’s tariff comprises ad valorem rates, which apply to 97.9% of total lines, and non-ad valorem rates (specific, mixed, compound, and variable duties), applied to 378 items at the HS twelve-digit level (284 in 2003). The average applied MFN tariff is substantially higher in agriculture than in other sectors: using the WTO definition, the coverage is 47.6% on agricultural products, and 5% on non-agricultural goods. Some 46.3% of the tariff lines are bound. The simple average bound rate is 33.9%, and the simple average applied MFN rate 11.6% in 2007; the ceiling bound rates leave Turkey ample margins for tariff increases. Moreover, the imposition of non-ad valorem tariff rates does not ensure compliance by Turkey with its WTO binding commitments made at ad valorem rates. In addition to applied and bound tariffs, Turkey also maintains the so-called statutory tariff.

The government still has an influence on the economy, mainly through its control of public enterprises, although the implementation of its privatization programme has been accelerated recently. Export promotion continues to be one of the main objectives of Turkey’s trade regime. The incentives system comprises duty and tax concessions, finance, marketing assistance, and promotion. There are 20 free zones in Turkey (21 in 2003), and new arrangements were made in February 2004 regarding the tax incentives provided under this regime.

Since its last TPR in 2003, Turkey has redrafted or amended legislation on safeguards, standards and technical regulations, and intellectual property rights. Under the government procurement regime, supplies of Turkish origin are eligible for price preferences of up to 15%. Import licences are maintained on tariff-quota administration, health, sanitary, phytosanitary and environmental grounds. The Competition Authority has developed a reputation as one of Turkey’s most effective and best administered agencies, having played an important role in moving it towards the competition-based and consumer-welfare-oriented economies.” (WTO publication)

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