Australia has rejected the European Union’s (EU) proposed terms for a free trade agreement, saying that the deal is likely years away. The Australian government said that the EU’s offer did not go far enough in opening up the EU market to Australian goods and services.
The Australian government’s decision to reject the EU’s offer is a setback for negotiations on a free trade agreement between the two sides. The two sides have been negotiating a free trade agreement since 2018, but they have been unable to reach a deal.
The main sticking points in the negotiations are:
Agriculture: Australia wants the EU to open up its market to Australian agricultural products, such as beef, lamb, and dairy. The EU has resisted Australian demands, arguing that they would damage European farmers.
Industrial goods: The EU wants Australia to reduce tariffs on industrial goods, such as cars and machinery. Australia has been reluctant to reduce tariffs on industrial goods, arguing that it would hurt Australian manufacturers.
Services: The EU wants Australia to open up its services sector to European companies. Australia has been reluctant to open up its services sector, arguing that it would put Australian companies at a disadvantage.
It is unclear when or if Australia and the EU will be able to reach a free trade agreement. The Australian government has said that it is still committed to negotiating a deal, but it is clear that the two sides are still far apart on the key issues.
The Australian government’s decision to reject the EU’s offer is a reminder of the challenges facing Australian exporters. Australia is a small, open economy and it relies on trade to grow. A free trade agreement with the EU would be a major boost for Australian exporters, but it is clear that the two sides will need to make significant concessions in order to reach a deal.