Australia-EU FTA & Partnership Framework

The Australian Prime Minister together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission agreed in a joint statement on 15 November 2015 to start the process towards a comprehensive and high-quality Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

As a bloc, the EU is Australia’s largest source of foreign investment and second largest trading partner. In 2014, the EU’s foreign direct investment in Australia was valued at $169.6 billion and Australian foreign direct investment in the EU was valued at $83.5 billion. Total two-way merchandise and services trade between Australia and the EU was worth $83.9 billion.

The EU is Australia’s largest services export market, valued at nearly $10 billion in 2014.  Services account for 19.7 per cent of Australia’s total trade in goods and services and will be an important component of any future free trade agreement.

Australian and EU officials will now begin bilateral discussions on the next steps to launch negotiations.  As part of this process, DFAT is seeking submissions from interested stakeholders.

Key Interests and benefits:

  • A comprehensive, high-quality Australia-EU FTA would help to ensure our trade and investment relationship reaches its full potential
  • An Australia-EU FTA would remove barriers to trade in goods
  • An Australia-EU FTA could expand services linkages and investment ties
  • An Australia-EU FTA could enhance regulatory cooperation in specific sectors of interest to business.

The Australia–EU Partnership Framework currently sets out the direction of bilateral cooperation. The Framework was launched during Australia–EU Ministerial Consultations in Paris in 2008. It outlines specific cooperative activities and is designed to be revised regularly. The first revision was done in October 2009, and provides an updated focus on practical cooperation in the following areas:

  • shared foreign policy and global security interests
  • the multilateral rules-based trading system and the bilateral trade and investment relationship
  • the Asia–Pacific region
  • energy issues, climate change, fisheries and forestry
  • science, research, technology and innovation, education and culture and facilitating the movement of people.

The original Framework replaced the June 1997 Australia–European Union Joint Declaration on Relations [PDF] and the subsequent 2003–08 Agenda for Cooperation [PDF 120 KB].

On 22 April 2015, Foreign Minister Bishop and European High Representative Mogherini issued a joint declaration announcing the conclusion of negotiations on a legally binding Framework Agreement that will support the Australia-EU bilateral relationship across all areas of cooperation and also signed an agreement to facilitate Australian engagement in EU-led crisis management operations.

Once it enters into force, the Australia-EU Framework Agreement will provide an institutional framework that will elevate the bilateral relationship between Australia and the EU. It will set out a platform for cooperation on a broad range of issues with the EU and/or the EU member states. These issues include: non proliferation, counter-terrorism, human rights, democracy promotion, development, economic and trade cooperation, climate change and environment, education and culture, research and innovation, and justice.

For futher information, please visit DFAT, or see the complete Australia-European Union Partnership Framework.