Negotiations on a trade agreement between the European Union and Australia have been postponed because Australia’s commerce minister is flying across the continent.
The move comes after French dissatisfaction with Canberra’s decision to cancel a বিল 90 billion (US $ 64 billion) submarine project following the signing of the AUKUS agreement with the United States (UK) and the United Kingdom (UK) last month.
“I will meet with my EU counterpart Valdis Dombrovskis next week to discuss the 12th round of talks, which will now take place in November instead of October,” Australian Commerce Minister Dan Tehan said in a statement to Reuters on 1 October.
“A free trade agreement is in the interests of Australia and the European Union and will strengthen our relationship based on a shared commitment to democracy, human rights, the rule of law and economic openness.”
“We understand the French reaction to our submarine decision, but in the end any country has to act in its national interest – which Australia has done.”
Last month, the Australian government canceled a multi-billion-dollar future submarine program with French defense contractor Naval Group.
The original plan for 2016 was to deploy the Navy’s 12 barracuda-class nuclear submarines to the U.S. weapons system in diesel-electric-powered attack-class submarines.
However, with the French project running into ongoing delays and cost problems, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed that $ 2.4 billion (US $ 1.7 billion) has already sunk into the project.
However, the signing of the AUKUS saw the Australians cancel the deal যা which Morrison said was within the federal government’s prerogative এবং and instead seek the acquisition of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines from the United States or the United Kingdom.
French ministers have reacted angrily to the deal, accusing Australia and the United States of “stabbing them in the back” and withdrawing their ambassadors from Canberra and Washington DC.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also questioned whether the incident could affect a potential trade deal with Australia.
In response to the delayed EU-Australia trade talks, Ian Graham, Senior Fellow in Asia-Pacific Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, wrote: October 1 Twitter, “Surprising. I guess economic retaliation was not in the EU Indo-Pacific policy guidelines?
“What happened at the time of the suspension of this suspension order (French President Emmanuel) to enable Macron to lobby an incoming German government for a pro-EU position?” He added. “It will be interesting to see if Australia is now negotiating a fast-track (Australia-UK) free trade agreement.”
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times