18 June 2018Hot off the Press
Australia and the European Union are starting negotiations on Monday for a free trade deal which could give Australian products open access to a market of half a billion people.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom is in Canberra for meetings with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trade Minister Steve Ciobo, and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
“I think we know where we are, we know the difficulties, we know the challenges, but also we know that in many areas it will be quite straightforward,” Dr Malmstrom said in a meeting with Minister Bishop.
“In these times we really need to send positive signals that we believe in mutually beneficial trade.”
Ms Bishop said the talks were a chance to set a “gold standard” for free trade agreements and that it sends a message to the rest of the world that Australia and the EU are committed to “open trade and free markets”.
“It’s also an opportunity for us to send a very powerful signal to the world that Australia and the EU are committed to open trade and free markets and transparent rules,” Ms Bishop said.
Both the EU and Australia have expressed concern over the rise of protectionism and the recent trade disputes between the United States and China.
A trade deal with the EU would open Australian products and services to a market of half a billion people and a GDP of $23.2 trillion, according to SBS.
“The more Australian produce, products and services sold to the world, the more Australian jobs created,” Minister Ciobo said.