Free Zones are the areas which are exempted from the general implementations of the foreign trade regime as indicated below. In a brief definition Free Zones are generally located near an international port or airport to enhance export and import activities. These zones are deemed as exception of customs areas and are principally designed to increase export opportunities.
Free Zones have been established in Turkey with the Free Zones Law No. 3218 (FZL) took into place in Turkish System since 1985. As of now there are 19 Free Zones in Turkey. They are subject to same legislation. Thus all the opportunities and conditions which are defined below have similar circumstances.
The objectives of free zones are:
- Incent the local companies to export
- Increase foreign trade volume
- Facilitate import and export activities,
- Accelerate technology transfers into the country.
In this regard, free zones are established with the purpose of increasing export, the foreign investments and technology in the country.
Fields of activities are not clearly regulated as per the article 4 of the FZL and article 10 of the Regulation of Free Zones. But there is a priority preference declaration by the Ministry of Trade named “evaluations of the operating license applications” No:1998/4 dated 19/06/1998 which states that “in the scheme of the Free Zones the final consumption goods which are bought or sold or produced are mostly sold abroad.”
In principle, the companies which are established in a Free Zone cannot carry out their commercial activities out of the Free Zones as it is a local Turkish Company. FZ directorate websites declares the field of activities as follows:
- Workplace Rental
- Banking - Insurance
- Installation / Dismounting
- Maintenance / Repair
- Machine Park
Free zones provide advantages to companies regarding tax liability particularly for the manufacturers regardless of their origin. Except for the manufacturers there are strict rules for the incentives and duty exemptions. Advantages of Free Zones in Turkey are explained in detailed by Ministry of Trade as follows:
In principle, the incomes of the manufacturers, generated through the sales of the products they produced in the free zones, are exempted from the income or corporate taxes.
The salaries of the workers employed in Free Zones by the manufacturers that export at least 85 percent of the FOB value of the goods they produce in the free zones are exempted from income tax.
The transactions and documents regarding the activities in Free Zones by the manufacturers are exempt from stamp duties and fees.
The revenue and earnings from free zone activities can be freely transferred to any country without any permission.
Upon the application to FZ district directorates for operating license the validity term of an operating license is:
- 15 years for tenant users.
- 20 years for manufacturer tenant users.
- 30 years for users who build their own working premises (investor users).
- 45 years for manufacturer-investor users.
Since the goods sold from Turkey to free zones are subject to export regime, free zone users can buy goods and services from Turkey without paying value added tax. Besides goods of Turkish origin in value less than 5000 USD or its equivalent in Turkish Lira can be exempted from export procedures.
The goods can be sent to Turkey or to the EU countries from the free zones without any customs duty payment. Besides, the goods of third countries are not subject to any customs duty as well.
Since the Free Zones are deemed as a part of the Turkey-EU Customs Territory, the goods can be sent to the EU Countries by an A.TR certificate. Although custom duties for the goods of third country origin are not paid at the entry into the free zones, the goods of third country origin that are not in free circulation can be sent to the EU countries by an A.TR certificate if the custom duties are paid over the rates determined.
Free Zones are close to the EU and Middle East Markets through the major Turkish Ports on the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea and have easy access to international airports and highways.
The incentives and advantages provided in the Free Zones are served to benefit of all companies regardless of their origin.
The goods can remain in the zones without any time limit.
In the Free Zones, unless the manufacturers demand so, any authority regarding prices, quality and standards granted to public institutions and agencies by laws or by other legislation is not implemented on goods and services which are subject to the Free Zone Law. Also legislative provisions regarding customs and foreign exchange obligations are not applicable in the zones.
During application and operation process bureaucracy is minimized in Free Zones.
C. Free Zones in Turkey
Here you can find a contact address of the above-mentioned Free Zones in Turkey.