After five years of negotiating, a free trade agreement between the EU and Australia is still some way away with agriculture being a sticking point between the parties.
Australia’s trade minister Don Farrell said Australia did not want to sign a deal unless it includes meaningful commercial market access for agricultural goods with ag minister Murray Watt saying the current offer from the EU is just not good enough. The ministers have pushed for an FTA with the EU similar to FTAs between EU and New Zealand, Mercosur and Canada. Minister Watt said there were issues relating to beef, sheep meat, sugar and dairy products. The parties need to find common ground on geographical indications with the EU demanding protection over regional identifiers such as feta, parmesan and prosecco. It has been reported the parties could produce a last-minute workaround by allowing labels such as feta-style.