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. The parties recognize that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent. In Chapter 7, they reaffirm their commitment to multilateral contracts and principles in the environment and work and commit to a level of protection by recognizing the right of each party to set its own level of environmental and labour protection. Arbitration procedures do not apply to this chapter. For eFTA-Turkey trade statistics see EFTA trade statistics tool The Turkey-EU customs union has abolished tariffs, quantitative restrictions and measures of equivalent effect in trade in industrial products in order to guarantee the free movement of goods. As a result of the customs union, Turkey has opened its internal market to competition in the EU and third countries, while guaranteeing its exporters free access to the EU market. In addition, Turkey is committed to adapting to the preferential regimes that the EU applies to third countries and to harmonising its legislation with the EU acquis in a wide range of areas, including technical standards and regulations, as well as competition policy. However, agricultural trade is carried out between the contracting parties under the preferential system; trade in steel products is governed by the free trade agreement between Turkey and the European Coal and Steel Community.

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. Trade in agricultural commodities is covered by three bilateral agricultural agreements negotiated between the EFTA state concerned, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland/Liechtenstein and Turkey. These agreements are part of the instruments for setting up the free trade area between the EFTA countries and Turkey.