Overview of the First Negotiating Round, Brussels, 2-6 July 2018
The first round of negotiations on the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement was held in Brussels on 2-6 July. The Australian delegation was led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and included representatives of the Departments of: Agriculture and Water Resources; Industry, Innovation and Science, Austrade; Finance; Arts and Communications; Home Affairs; Jobs and Small Business; Environment and Energy; and IP Australia. The EU delegation was led by a Deputy Director-General for Trade.
The first round took place in a positive and constructive atmosphere and focused on laying the ground work for future progress. Discussions were wide-ranging and facilitated a greater understanding of both parties' objectives and positions. Australia drew on past precedents to explain approaches across 17 working groups on goods, services, investment, legal and other cross-cutting issues.
Australia and the EU are committed to negotiating an ambitious and comprehensive FTA. We are natural partners, with a shared commitment to the rule of law, global institutions and free and open markets.
The second round is scheduled to be held in Canberra on 19-23 November. Negotiators have agreed to work together intersessionally to work towards resolving outstanding issues.
Positive discussions were held on trade in goods, technical barriers to trade, customs procedures and trade facilitation, rules of origin, trade remedies, technical barriers to trade, energy and raw materials and sanitary and phytosanitary measures and animal welfare. On goods and market access, Australia and the EU discussed technical details regarding tariff negotiations and trade statistics.
Both Parties agreed to consider proposals on various aspects of the text, provide further information and clarification on respective processes within their own economies, and follow-up within their respective systems on outstanding issues, as appropriate.
Services and investment
Negotiations on services and investment were constructive and informative. Both sides explained our respective regulatory systems and preferred FTA practice. The Commission explained how the European Court of Justice opinion on the Singapore-EU FTA had affected its recent FTA practice. Officials had useful exchanges on intellectual property rights, geographical indications, and services scheduling. Australia provided an overview of its approach to e-commerce and answered EU questions on our approach.
Legal, institutional and cross-cutting issues
Australian negotiators had detailed and productive discussions with their EU counterparts on the EU's proposed dispute settlement chapter, reaching broad agreement on the objectives and expectations for the chapter.
Australian negotiators also discussed the EU's forthcoming proposal on transparency and good regulatory practices.
Australia and the EU also held constructive discussions on competition (including state-owned enterprises and subsidies), trade and sustainable development, government procurement and small and medium-sized enterprises.
The EU has not yet proposed any other legal or cross-cutting chapters, including in relation to institutional arrangements and general provisions and exceptions.
We continue to welcome input from stakeholders on issues of relevance to the Australia-EU FTA negotiations. To provide input, or to make a submission, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.