The harmonization process with the European Union will hit four sectors very hard. According to a “regulatory impact analyses,” the chemical, automotive, iron and steel industry and land transportation sectors will be deeply affected by the negotiation process. Federation of Sectoral Associations (SEDEFED) representatives from the four sectors explained in a press conference yesterday in Istanbul that especially EU environmental regulations will carry a huge economic cost to some sectors and it is very important to calculate and decrease these costs.
Turkey must continue on its path to the EU, said SEDEFED Chairman Bülent Akerman, adding that as an NGO, his institution is willing to support the process technically. He mentioned that the “regulatory impact analyses” is very important because it is the only way to understand the effects on the business world. Complaining that “our sector will be hardly affected” is nothing, he said, the business world must develop concrete strategies by analyzing the real costs.
The environment is an alarming topic, said Dr. Şebnem Karauçak from Eurohorizons Consultancy, the company that made the analysis. The chemical sector will suffer the most followed by the automotive sector, said Karauçak. Highly polluting industrial waste from the chemical sector, the sector's high accident risk and the difficulty of ensuring security at factories are the main reasons that high security and environmental protection is demanded by EU regulations, which also cost a lot to the sector. According to research by the Environment Ministry, the total cost will be 60 billion euros; one-third will to be met by the chemical sector, one-third by the state and the rest by local administrations. Chemical products are used by other industries, said Chemicals Association of Turkey President Çetin Nuhoğlu, and rising costs in the chemical sector will influence others. As an example of cost, Poland, which has a similar chemical sector to Turkey, needed to spend 6.3 billion euros for the regulation costs.
Environmental regulations and free flow of goods will bring about 65 percent in extra costs to the automotive sector during the negotiation process, emphasized Karauçak. The automotive sector has a responsibility to decrease carbon gas emissions, which is one of the main sources of global warming, she said. We, the automotive sector, have experience in harmonizing, said Ercan Tezer, the chief of the Automotive Industry Association, adding that for Turkey's custom's union process the sector harmonized with 70 directives.
It is necessary to adapt the iron and steel industry regulations to the EU even if it will cost a lot and be hard, said Veysel Yayan from the Association of Iron and Steel Producers, because 26 percent of Turkey's exports are to the EU, he added. Impact analysis is not only a part of the harmonization process, he said, but also a complementary part of existing relations. He said that contrary to estimations, the sector is in cooperation with the Environment Ministry.
Karauçak emphasized that in terms of the duration of the harmonizing process, EU institutions were tolerant to other candidate countries. “If Turkey justifies its reasons strongly, the process would be less brutal and less costly,” she said.