As the UK’s new trade deals with Australia and New Zealand come into effect, the IOE&IT Daily Update rounds up the latest trade developments from the two nations.
The EU is still working towards a trade deal with Australia, with negotiators aiming for a summer agreement. Although the talks are regarded as being at the “endgame” stage, domestic opposition on both sides is likely to make the final push for approval difficult.
According to Politico, the last formal round of negotiations took place in late April, but opposition remains inside the EU from powerful lobbying groups, such as French farmers and German car makers.
On the Australian side, dairy farmers and other food groups are concerned about restrictions on the use of terms such as ‘feta’ and ‘prosecco’ that are normally protected under European trade deals. The lobby groups have urged Canberra to avoid making them a “scapegoat” in negotiations.
Trade minister Don Farrell told the Guardian last week (23 May) that he wanted a deal that would diversify Australia’s international trade offerings, but no concessions had yet been made.
Last week (24 May) also saw Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi meet in Sydney to discuss economic and security ties. According to the Mint, both leaders committed to a “comprehensive” trade deal by the end of the year.
Topics of discussion included critical minerals and renewable energy, with a new migration and mobility agreement being signed to allow travel and work opportunities for nationals of both countries.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that trade minister Farrell said that Australia would not ignore human rights concerns in any negotiations, as questions have been raised about Modi’s domestic politics.
He said: “If there are issues, we will raise them. That doesn’t mean we can’t have another conversation about trade diversification. I think we can do both of those things.”
According to Reuters, Australia is seeking to diversify its trade network away from China, and this includes forging a closer trading relationship with India.
Despite efforts by Canberra to move away from China trade, the joint relationship appears to be improving. The Independent reports that Farrell toured China in early May and talked of “stabilizing” the partnership, adding that he hoped to “work through a successful pathway for the resolution of all of our outstanding trade differences.”
Farrell said that the Australian barley sector may be the beneficiary of any thawing in the trading relationship, according to Bloomberg.
China is Australia’s biggest trading partner, with two-way trade totalling $287bn last year.
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