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Talking Trade

  • March 10th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

ships-reduced2.jpgAustralia, New Zealand and the European Union will be caucusing during the coming week, ahead of forthcoming international trade talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation.


de-gucht.jpegThe European Commission is sending its Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht (picture), to meet his counterparts, the Australian Trade Minister, Dr Craig Emerson, and the New Zealand Minister, Tim Groser, during the trip, 13-21.3.11.

Before leaving Brussels Commissioner De Gucht said they would talk about their positions on raw materials supply which had become a leading item in the current trade environment.

“We all are strongly committed to find a multilateral agreement in 2011″, he said, starting on the first leg of his journey, to take in, also, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

In the world trade meetings  – part of the “WTO Doha Development Agenda –DDA”, being thrashed out in Geneva – “free trade” countries including Australia have been pressing for a further opening-up of world markets, with reductions in taxation and other barriers.

They are generally in accord with the major producers, the European Union and the United States, except for disagreements over outside access to EU markets for agricultural products, subsidies and protection for farm industries in America, or pressure for free entry into Australia by outside financial industries – including certain crisis-prone banks.

energy.jpgConcerns over raw materials range from extreme demand for metals or fuels, bolstered by heavy growth in China, to anxiety in Europe over guarantees for the supply of energy.

Commissioner De Gucht will represent the European Union at the national earthquake memorial service in Christchurch next week.


The European Union Embassy in Canberra has published an update on trade relations:-

The EU was Australia’s second largest trading partner in 2009, a key export market and the EU’s 17th major trade partner in 2010. Trade between the two economies has been growing steadily. With goods exported to Australia totalling 26.7 billion Euros and imports of 9.8 billion Euros in 2010 the EU holds a trade surplus of 16.9 billion Euros. Australia’s exports are dominated by mineral commodities and agricultural products (mainly wine). EU exports to Australia are mainly medicaments, motor vehicles, machinery and telecommunication equipment.

The EU is still Australia’s largest trading partner in services in terms of both, imports and exports. Services are an important component of the overall EU-Australia trade relationship, comprising about 28% of bilateral trade in 2009-10.

Since October 2008 the EU has been party to “Mutual Recognition Agreements” with both Australia and New Zealand that simplify the certification of products for export. The agreements apply to a wide range of products, including medical devices, electrical equipment and telecommunications equipment.

A new Agreement on trade in wine between the EU and Australia came into force in September 2010.

For more information on EU trade relations with Australia:


EU Delegation to Australia and New Zealand, Canberra,  “EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht travels to Australia and New Zealand to discuss bilateral and multilateral trade agenda”, 10.3.11., (10.3.11).