Sydney, Australia, Oct 30 (EFE).- Australian officials said Monday that negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union have stalled due to the controversy surrounding the designations of origin of some products and the entry of Australian agricultural products to the European market.
European Commissioner for An Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, attends a debate on ‘EU-China trade relations’ at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, 03 October 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/JULIEN WARNAND
Trade Minister Don Farrell had traveled to the Japanese city of Osaka, where the G7 Trade Ministers’ meeting is being held, over the weekend to hold parallel talks with his European counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, with the aim of finalizing the trade agreement.
“Unfortunately we have not been able to make progress,” Farrell said in a statement Monday, insisting that his job is to “get the best deal that we can for our producers, our businesses, our workers, and our consumers.”
“Negotiations will continue, and I am hopeful that one day we will sign a deal that benefits both Australia and our European friends,” the minister said.
The negotiations for this agreement are long and thorny due to Australia’s demand to continue calling a sparkling white wine and a white cheese produced in the Oceanian country “prosecco” and “feta,” despite the fact that they are European protected designations of origin.
Divergences between Australia and the EU also focused on the access of Australian agricultural products such as sugar to the European market, which covers more than 445 million potential consumers.
Australia’s Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt told public broadcaster ABC on Monday that the EU has not significantly modified its position and he considered that it will take “quite some time” for the parties to be able to come to a deal, partly due to the Europe’s looming 2024 election cycle .
Bilateral trade between Australia and the EU, the country’s second trading partner, reached AU$108.8 billion ($69 billion) in 2022, according to official data.
Australia, which has China as its main trading partner, intensified the diversification of its trade to countries and blocs such India and the EU as a result of the problems arising from the bans on its exports imposed by Beijing in 2020.
Australia and the EU began negotiating an FTA in 2018, at the same time as New Zealand and the European bloc, which finalized their trade pact in July. EFE