EU and Australia move closer to starting trade talks

  • Sydney

It is possible that the European Commission is hoping that UK politicians take particular notice of its latest statement about trying to get trade negotiations underway with Australia.

As if offering a lesson to those who believe, such deals can be put together in a few weeks it has announced that, after nearly a year spent in preliminary discussions, the two sides are “one step closer to launching trade negotiations”.

So far, the officials concerned have been working to define areas to be covered by the substantive negotiations as well as the level of ambition for a future agreement. As a next step, the Commission will ask Member States for the authorisation to launch formal negotiations and for the specific negotiating directives.

Commission President Juncker, EU Council President Donald Tusk and the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, first expressed their shared commitment to advance towards a trade agreement in November 2015.

The EU is Australia’s third largest trading partner with annual bilateral trade amounting to more than €45.5 billion. An agreement on mutual recognition is already in force between the two sides to facilitate trade in industrial products by reducing technical barriers, including assessment procedures.

“The EU and Australia are like-minded partners who share many common concerns in today’s international trade environment,” the Commission said, which again underlines that such deals take time, even with goodwill on both side.


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