Australia-EU FTA & Framework Agreement
From left to right: Mr Jean-Claude JUNCKER, President of the European Commission; Mr Donald TUSK, President of the European Council; Mr Malcolm TURNBULL, Prime Minister of Australia. Credit: ‘The European Union’
The EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement
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).
On 7 April 2017, Australia and the EU successfully completed a joint FTA scoping exercise, as a key step toward the launch of the negotiations. Both sides are now working through their domestic processes to secure approval of a negotiating mandate.
In his State of the European Union Speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for the EU-Australia Free-Trade Agreement to be signed before the end of the current European Commission’s mandate, in July 2019.
On 22 May 2018, the Council of the European Union approved the European Commission’s negotiating mandate, thus allowing formal negotiations to start later in the year. In a press release, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced she would visit Australia in June to officially launch the FTA negotiations.
Key Interests and benefits:
- A comprehensive, modern and high quality Australia-EU FTA would provide a framework to address existing and emerging issues, as well as common challenges facing both economies
- An 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.
Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, and Dr Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade (© European Union , 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Georges Boulougouris)
Framework Agreement between the European Union and Australia
The Framework Agreement between the European Union and Australia was signed by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop at Manila, Philippines, on 7 August 2017.
The Agreement aims to enhance cooperation between Australia and the EU on common challenges including foreign and security policy, sustainable development, climate change, and economic and trade matters.
The full text of the Framework Agreement is available here.
As part of the ratification process, the Australian Joint Standing Committee on Treaties opened an inquiry on the Framework Agreement with the EU.
The EABC made a submission, which is available here.
Useful Links & Publications
- Media Release – European Australian Business Council May 2018
- Media Release – European Commission May 2018
- Media Release – Australian Government May 2018
- PwC’s Study on Free Trade Agreement Utilisation Study (commissioned by DFAT)
- Australia, the EU and the New Trade Agenda (ANU Press, Australia)
- Business Envoy, January 2018 (DFAT)