Delegation of the European Union to Australia

Commissioner declares 'Europe open for business'

19/02/2019 - 06:06
News stories

European Union Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, has declared it "unthinkable" for the EU and Australia not to strike a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The Commissioner spent four days in Australia in February where he spoke extensively about the FTA negotiations.  An EU impact study estimates the trade in goods and services between the two partners could increase by around a third. You can read about the proposed EU-Australia FTA here.

The visit included meeting with Australia's Trade Minister Simon Birmingham and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to discuss the progress of the EU-Australia FTA negotiations. The Commissioner described the meeting as "constructive" and set the scene for the next round of trade negotiations.

 

The Commissioner also met with Labor's Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon, and Shadow Trade Minister, Jason Clare, and engaged in positive discussions about the proposed trade agreement.

The Commissioner took the opportunity to discuss the FTA with key representatives from the Australian agriculture industry, including the National Farmers Federation, Meat and Livestock Australia, Red Meat Advisory Council, Australian Pork Limited, Graingrows and Cane Growers Australia, Australia Grape and Wine, Dairy Australia and the Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association.

During the discussion with agriculture representatives, Commissioner Hogan detailed the benefits to Australian producers of the 1994 EU-Australia wine agreement that included GIs and saw sales double in Europe. Commissioner Hogan stressed the wine agreement was an excellent example of how GIs can benefit Australian producers.

 

 

"We are very much open for business! Trade is a win-win for #farmers in Australia and Europe,"  National Farmers' Federation President Fiona Simson said.

The trip also included briefing Australian business leaders at a roundtable organized by the European Australian Business Council and hosted by one of their foremost members, Australian fashion designer Carla Zampatti.

"My colleagues and I are here to deliver the clear message that Europe is open for business," Commissioner Hogan told EABC members.

He cited the EU's recent landmark trade agreement with Japan - a deal that affects 600 million people -  as an obvious example of the EU's desire to do business. He also mentioned the EU's deals with Canada and Vietnam  saying that it was now time "to move south" towards Australia.

He thanked the EABC members for being "strong advocates for a closer trade and investment relationship with the EU".

The Commissioner also took the opportunity to deliver a keynote address  'Good food means good business – origin products as a drive of rural jobs and sustainable growth at a high-level panel discussion with a broad range of stakeholders on the topic of GIs at Bond University on the Gold Coast.

He said premium Australian producers – such as King Island Dairy products, King Island Beef, Tasmanian Whiskey, Huon Salmon, Bangalow pork and Tasmanian lobster – were obvious candidates to benefit from a GI system that creates jobs in rural areas, keeps families on farms and brings tourists to regional areas.

 

 

 

"As things stand, there are a lot of myths in circulation in relation to GIs. In reality, the majority of names for which the EU seeks protection under FTAs are not problematic."

"Several names of products which are undisputedly of European origin and which in some cases refer to a specific place have become designate names without being protected as GIs. These include camembert, brie, cheddar, gouda, and mozzarella.

"We were therefore perplexed to see Australian media reports stating that we are looking to protect names such as chorizo, ricotta, salami, chèvre and prosciutto. This is simply wrong, as these terms are not protected in the EU."

The third round of the EU-Australia FTA negotiations will be held in Canberra in March.

Media

ABC AM radio current affairs   Trade rules between AUS and EU could see food products be branded differently.

The Australian Financial Review   EU, Australia fight to salvage beef deal with the US

Channel Seven Gold Coast News    - Report of GI event  (watch here)

The Sydney Morning Herald   -   This was published in the newspaper under the headline "Naming rights stall $100b deal" and online "Australia might keep its prosecco but won't win all food name battles, says EU" (link here)

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