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.