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Malmstrom and Turnbull

EU opens FTA talks with Australia and New Zealand

25 June 2018

EU Opens FTA Talks with Australia and New Zealand

EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström visited Australia and New Zealand last week to start negotiations on a free trade agreement with both countries. Malmström said that the FTAs were part of the EU’s global trade strategy and would build on the successes of recent agreements with Japan, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam.

In Australia, Malmström met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trade Minister Steven Ciobo, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and David Littleproud, the Minister for Agriculture. Both sides looked forward to a swift agreement aimed at removing barriers to trade in goods and services, as well as developing trade rules to make trade easier and more sustainable.

In New Zealand, Malmström opened the FTA talks with the Minister for Trade David Parker and also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters, as well as with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs.

In a statement,Malmströmsaid that ‘it was heartening to see that Australia and New Zealand shared the EU’s commitment to a positive trade agenda, and to the idea that good trade agreements are a win for both sides. These agreements will boost economic opportunity for businesses, both big and small, and create jobs.’ 

The first formal round of talks between the EU and Australia will take place in Brussels from 2 to 6 Julyand the first round with NZ will take place from 16 to 20 July..

Australia is one of the world's fastest-growing developed economies. It (along with NZ) recently negotiated the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other countries in the Pacific region. The future EU-Australia agreement will let European companies compete on a level playing-field with businesses from those countries with which Australia already has trade agreements.

The EU is already Australia's second biggest trade partner. Bilateral trade in goods between the EU and Australia has risen steadily in recent years, reaching almost €48 billion last year. The sectors which make up the bulk of EU exports to Australia are transport equipment, machinery and appliances, chemicals, food, and services. Bilateral trade in services is around €28 billion. The agreement could increase trade in goods between the two partners by over a third. Information about the negotiations, including factsheet, examples of small exporters, statistics and other material, is available online.

The EU is New Zealand's third biggest trade partner and the agreement could increase trade in goods by almost 50%, or by one third if both goods and services are considered. Bilateral trade in goods between the EU and New Zealand stood at €8.7 billion last year. The sectors which make up the bulk of EU exports to New Zealand are manufactured goods like transport equipment, and machinery and appliances, as well as chemicals, plastics, food, and services. In addition, a further €4.4 billion is exchanged in services (2016).