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Against all expectations, Australia and the EU fail to implement a free trade agreement

A sword in the water.

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Against all expectations, Australia and the EU fail to implement a free trade agreement

A sword in the water. Negotiations between the European Union and Australia have failed to produce a free trade deal, despite hopes of a quick conclusion, Brussels and Canberra said. An Australian minister estimated on Monday that it will take several years before talks resume. Australian Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said EU negotiators had not changed their position during the latest round of negotiations, held on the sidelines of a G7 meeting in Japan.

“Unfortunately we haven't gotten the movement we wanted from the EU side,” he told Australian public broadcaster ABC on Monday. Negotiations are unlikely to resume in "the current parliamentary term", he added, suggesting the Australian government may not return to the negotiating table until after the 2025 general election. it will be some time before an Australian government or EU leader is able to negotiate a deal. And it’s quite a shame,” added Murray Watt.

The European Union had been optimistic about the conclusion of an agreement at the G7 in Osaka, but Australia "presented agricultural demands which did not reflect recent negotiations", indicated a spokesperson for the European Commission. “The European Commission is ready to continue negotiations,” the commission said in a statement. The French Minister of Commerce, Olivier Becht, welcomed at the end of last week a “number of very positive advances”, giving hope that a rapid agreement would be found.

Negotiations between the EU and Australia on a free trade agreement have been going on since 2018. The two parties are particularly struggling to agree on the opening of the European market to Australian exports of sheepmeat, beef and pork. sugar. The question of access for European agricultural products and European protected designations of origin (cheese, wine, meat, etc.) have also complicated the situation. Through this agreement, Europe hopes for better access to Australia's rich deposits of "critical minerals", in order to reduce its dependence on Russia and China for these key components enabling the manufacture of wind turbines and batteries. electric cars.

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