More has been revealed about the sticking points between the European Union and Australia in free trade negotiations as the Australian trade minister Don Farrell interrupts a holiday to attend “crucial negotiations” with EU counterparts this week. With warnings that EU stand to lose access Australian critical minerals unless it makes concessions on agriculture, negotiations stalled last month. The EU is reportedly unwilling to agree to Australian government demands about the volume of ag products which can enter EU tariff-free. France and Ireland along with Romania and Poland are concerned about giving Australia greater market access – in Eastern Europe Russia’s war on Ukraine means the country has lost access to Black Sea ports, forcing exports into neighbouring countries and depressing prices. If Europe allows greater access, Australia could scrap the luxury car tax and agree to tighter rules on geographic indicators such as parmesan, feta and prosecco.
A trade agreement with the EU would give Australia greater access to an overall market of 445m people and lift total two-way trade, currently worth $97bn in 2021/22.