Australia and the European Union (EU) launched negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) on 18 June 2018. As a bloc, the EU is Australia’s second largest trading partner, third largest export destination, and second largest services export market. The EU was Australia’s largest source of foreign investment in 2018.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) welcomes submissions throughout the negotiations from interested individuals and groups on the potential opportunities and impacts of an FTA with the EU. Individuals, organisations and groups that make submissions are registered as stakeholders by DFAT for further consultation and follow up, as appropriate.
Why is the Government negotiating an FTA with the EU?
Australia and the EU are natural partners, with a shared commitment to the rule of law, global norms and free and open markets. As articulated in the Foreign Policy White Paper, a strong EU is vital to Australian interests in protecting and promoting a rules-based international order. We want an FTA with the EU to set the benchmark for what can be achieved between like-minded partners.
An FTA with the EU has the potential to open up a market for Australian goods and services of half a billion people and a GDP of US$18.7 trillion. It would provide Australian exporters with a competitive edge, and would give Australian businesses access to a larger export market in the EU. Australian consumers and companies stand to benefit from a free trade deal with the EU, through greater access to goods and services at lower prices.
More details about the FTA’s potential benefits
Australia’s position in the world as a global top 20 trading nation is underpinned by our advocacy for an open global economy and by our FTAs, which ensure the lowest possible barriers to our trade and investment. Australia is seeking an ambitious and comprehensive FTA with the EU to drive Australian exports, economic growth and job creation.