This research project, supported under the Australian Research Council's Linkage Projects funding scheme (project number LP0990000), was aimed at identifying new opportunities for a closer, more constructive trade and business relationship with the European Union (EU) into the future. While the EU is the world’s largest trade entity, accounting for 20% of total world trade, and is a major trade and investment partner for Australia, the full potential of the bilateral trade and business relationship is not yet being realised.
The project linked researchers from four Australian universities: The Australian National University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Melbourne, and the University of South Australia, and five industry partners: the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; the Delegation of the European Commission to Australia and New Zealand; and the European Australian Business Council.
Research for this project culminated in a major conference on 27-28 November 2013 at the ANU Centre for European Studies. Over one and a half days, representatives from government, industry and academia discussed prospects for an Australia-European Union free trade agreement. The proceedings drew on recent negotiating experiences of both parties to examine what could be gained from an agreement, with particular attention to the recently concluded Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU. Significantly, agriculture is no longer seen as a ‘deal breaker’ for an Australia-EU trade agreement. Further information about the Conference, including presentations, is available here.