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The European Commission on Tuesday released a statement "welcomes green light to start trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. The deal follows Brexit and The U.S. and China putting their trade war on hold. Australia is a major trading partner of China and considered America's closest ally.

Australia EU Trade

The European Union is Australia’s second-largest trading partner, worth nearly $100 billion,. Brexit has opened up the opportunity for Australia after decades trying to increase access to the single market being denied.

The sectors likely to benefit most from a free trade agreement include agriculture, motor equipment, machinery, chemical, processed foods and services.

Full Statement From The EU

The Commission welcomes today's adoption by the Council of the negotiating directives for free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand. The preparations – which included an impact assessment for both agreements – are now complete and formal negotiations can begin. - EU Statement

President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said: "These agreements will build on the recent successful agreements with Canada, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, as well as Mexico among others, expanding the alliance of partners committed to open and rules-based global trade. Open trade must go hand in hand with open and inclusive policy making. That's why the Commission published the draft negotiating mandates with Australia and New Zealand when it proposed to the Council to open these negotiations. These agreements will be negotiated in the greatest transparency and we expect Member States to uphold this high level of transparency."

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: "This is great news. We look forward to adding Australia and New Zealand to the EU's ever-growing circle of close trading partners. We are already close in terms of shared values and our open, global outlook. Together, we will now negotiate win-win trade deals that create new opportunities for our businesses, as well as safeguard high standards in key areas such as sustainable development. I am looking forward to visiting Canberra and Wellington in the coming weeks to officially launch our negotiations. Starting these talks between likeminded partners sends a strong signal at a time where many are taking the easy road of protectionism."

Australia and New Zealand are important allies and these agreements will offer significant economic gains by getting rid of obstacles and boosting trade further. Despite the distance, trade between the EU and these two countries is already roughly the same as with Mexico or Canada. Having trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand would provide EU businesses with a valuable entry point into the wider Asia-Pacific region. They will also put European companies on an equal footing with those from the other countries in the area that have signed up to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) or that already enjoy better access to Australia and New Zealand through other preferential trade agreements.

Commissioner Malmström will travel to Australia and New Zealand in June to open negotiations at the political level. The first negotiation rounds between the teams of negotiators are then envisaged to take place in Brussels in July.

Australia EU Trade Table

French President Macron visited Australia at the start of May and in response to a French newsaper when asked “was fair play” to delay FTA negotiations with Australia. Australia had just awarded a $50 billion submarine deal, to the French bid for the largest defence procurement contract in Australian history.

“First of all, it is about protecting the French interests”, Mr Macron responded.

EU Trading partners

“We’re not wasting any time, we're not lagging behind. “France will be in favour of a negotiation mandate in the coming weeks, as soon as it is submitted to the (European) Council. They will have some very concrete discussions on agricultural issues. “This is fully reassuring. This is also our vision of global trade, which has to be free and fair. “I can say that both our countries do not consider trade war or tensions to be something in our interests or in the interests of our values so we very much want to comply with the spirit of multilateralism and free trade, to which we contributed to designing.”

Australia Export Destinations“I’m a firm believer in keeping the horse in front of the cart, so you’ll understand I’m not going to get into a sector by sector analysis, what I will say is that we want to drive more trade and more investment with Europe,” Australian trade minister Ciobo said.

Source: EU, SMH, SBS, DFAT

From a Sunburnt Country

 

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