London: Talks between Australia and the EU on a trade deal will resume on Thursday after both sides failed to reach an agreement last month.
Trade Minister Don Farrell and EU’s Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis will resume discussions via video link after having agreed to reconvene in August following the deadlocked talks in July.
Farrell wants the EU to open its agricultural market to Australian farmers, a sensitive issue in Paris and Dublin. Ireland is worried it will lose its market share to Australia in the UK after the British agreed to eventually allow Australian beef and lamb to be exported in unlimited amounts.
This leaves Dombrovskis with little room to move, but Brussels wants access to Australia’s critical minerals to help reduce its dependencies on China as it transitions to net-zero.
Miriam Garcia-Ferrer, the EU’s Trade spokeswoman said it was hoped the talks would conclude in a deal soon.
“We have made progress on our FTA talks but more work is required to address key outstanding issues,” she said.
“At the last ministerial-level round of talks in July, there were several issues on which the Australian side required further internal consultations.
“We look forward to engaging with our Australian partners to conclude soon. As part of this ongoing effort, EVP Dombrovskis has agreed to speak with Minister Farrell over videoconference in order to hear from the Australian side on their internal consultations, which Minister Farrell indicated that he had to carry out after the conclusion of the last ministerial discussions in mid-July.”
Junior Trade Minister Tim Ayres met with his European counterpart in India at last week’s meeting of G20 trade ministers.