Australia claims that a trade agreement will help the EU in the Indo-Pacific

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According to Australia’s trade minister, a trade agreement between Australia and the European Union would be mutually beneficial and give EU members a stronger presence in the Indo-Pacific, as Canberra tries to mend fences with Paris following the cancellation of a US$40 billion (S$54 billion) submarine deal.
Following a trilateral security alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom, Australia terminated a deal with France’s Naval Group to develop a fleet of conventional submarines. It would instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with US and British technology.
France was enraged by the cancellation, accusing Australia and the United States of stabbing it in the back and recalling its embassies in Canberra and Washington. EU legislators have publicly questioned whether a trade agreement with Australia is realistic, in solidarity with France.
Australia’s Trade Minister, Dan Tehan, encouraged the EU to move forward with a trade deal on Wednesday (September 22). In a speech in Canberra, Mr. Tehan said of the free trade deal, “The Australia-EU FTA is in the best interests of all parties.”
“The EU will utilize it to deepen its involvement with the Indo-Pacific since it recognizes that the area bears the world’s economic weight.”
On October 12, Australia and the EU will convene the next round of trade negotiations.
Australia expects such discussions to take place. However, the intensity of the outrage was on show in New York at the United Nations on Tuesday when a top EU legislator greeted Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison with usual niceties. In a bilateral meeting in New York on Tuesday, European Council president Charles Michel told Mr. Morrison, “Transparency and loyalty are important characteristics for us to establish better partnerships and stronger alliances.”
Mr. Morrison is in America for the quadrilateral security conversation, which will take place later this week and includes India, Japan, the United States, and Australia. In New York, he spoke with US Vice President Joe Biden but announced he would not meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.

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