The Morrison Government is seeking the views of Australian producers and businesses as it continues to work towards securing an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union (EU).

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the public consultation process on Geographical Indications, which opens today, would give industry a three month opportunity to express their views on the EU’s proposed list of protected terms known as ‘Geographical Indications’ or GIs.

“We want to hear directly from Australian farmers and businesses so that we can fully represent them in our continuing negotiations with the EU,” Minister Birmingham said.

“There are enormous opportunities for Australian farmers and businesses if we can improve their access to markets across the EU. The EU boasts more than 500 million consumers and, even with existing trade restrictions, it is already Australia’s third largest export market.

“Whilst we understand the importance the EU places on geographical indications, our priority is ensuring our farmers and businesses can get better market access and be more competitive in the EU. 

“This consultation process will help us better understand the views of Australian industry, which will assist us in our ongoing discussions with the EU on why their requested protection of certain terms will not be acceptable in some cases.

“Australians can be confident that we will drive a very hard bargain – as we always do – to achieve an overall agreement that delivers more opportunity for Australian farmers and businesses. Ultimately, we will only do this deal if overall it is in Australia’s interests to do so.”

Given wine GIs are already protected under Australia’s existing wine agreement with the EU, this public objections process excludes any wine terms.

As a bloc, the EU is Australia’s second largest trading partner, third largest export destination, and second largest services export market. Australia and the EU have a close trading relationship, with $109 billion in two-way goods and services trade last year.

Australian industry and business are invited to read the EU’s list of proposed GIs https://dfat.gov.au/aeufta/gis and make a submission https://dfat.gov.au/aeufta/pop by 13 November 2019.

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