Photo: European Union
The Council today authorised the Commission to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand and adopted negotiating directives for each of the negotiations.
"Today's decision to open trade talks with Australia and New Zealand sends a strong signal to both countries that we value our partnerships with them and want to strengthen our existing ties. But it is also a reminder to the world of the EU's commitment to openness, free trade and global cooperation."
Emil Karanikolov, minister of economy of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU
Trade agreements with both countries would aim primarily at further reducing existing barriers to trade, removing custom duties on goods, and giving better access for services and public procurement in Australia and New Zealand. The sectors likely to benefit the most from the FTAs are motor equipment, machinery, chemicals, processed foods and services.
The mandates are particularly concerned to protect vulnerable sectors such as agriculture by maximising the benefits of market opening without harming local producers. The mandates do not envisage full liberalisation of trade in agricultural products, which are foreseen as benefiting from specific treatment.
The mandates provide for a comprehensive and modern framework, based on the highest standards of labour, safety, environment, climate and consumer protection.
Read the full press release here.
Visit the meeting the page on the website of the Council of the European Union.