On 15 November 2015, the European Union and Australia agreed to open negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement. Existing bilateral relations between Australia and EU are based on a legally binding framework, which was concluded in April 2015. This framework reduces technical barriers and enhances trade and investments. In April 2017 the EU and Australia finished preparatory work for potential Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The aim of this preparatory work was to define areas which should be covered in the agreement. After an acceptance of the scope of the future FTA, Australia and the member states of the EU will have to secure approval of a negotiating mandate.
According to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment in Australia Steven Ciobo, the EU is the second largest trading partner and even the largest source of foreign investment in Australia. In 2015-16, the total value of the two-way merchandise and services trade reached $95.6 billion. Both sides have strong trade and economic relations and the existence of the FTA should boost the economic growth of both parties through new export opportunities, job creation, reduction of trade barriers, and reinforcement of investments.
Source: European Australian Business Council