European Union Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, has declared it "unthinkable" for the EU and Australia not to strike a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The Commissioner spent four days in Australia in February where he spoke extensively about the FTA negotiations. An EU impact study estimates the trade in goods and services between the two partners could increase by around a third. You can read about the proposed EU-Australia FTA here.
The visit included meeting with Australia's Trade Minister Simon Birmingham and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to discuss the progress of the EU-Australia FTA negotiations. The Commissioner described the meeting as "constructive" and set the scene for the next round of trade negotiations.
The Commissioner also took the opportunity to deliver a keynote address 'Good food means good business – origin products as a drive of rural jobs and sustainable growth at a high-level panel discussion with a broad range of stakeholders on the topic of GIs at Bond University on the Gold Coast.
He said premium Australian producers – such as King Island Dairy products, King Island Beef, Tasmanian Whiskey, Huon Salmon, Bangalow pork and Tasmanian lobster – were obvious candidates to benefit from a GI system that creates jobs in rural areas, keeps families on farms and brings tourists to regional areas.