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 2015-16, the EU’s foreign direct investment in Australia was valued at $157.6 billion and Australian foreign direct investment in the EU was valued at $111.8 billion. Total two-way merchandise and services trade between Australia and the EU was worth $95.6 billion.
The EU is Australia’s largest services export market, valued at $10.4 billion in 2015–16. Services account for a growing proportion if Australia’s total trade with the EU, and will be an important component of any future free trade agreement.
Australian and EU officials recently completed a joint FTA scoping exercise, and are working toward a launch of formal 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.