Europe and Australia: Seizing the opportunity for recovery and bounceback.
The continued flow of goods, services and investment between Australia and Europe has been important for mitigating the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian Government is providing the largest support package ever implemented to support Australian businesses and jobs, and to maximise opportunities for a post-COVID economic ‘bounceback’, where trade and investment has a vital role to play. Leading the Australian Government’s efforts for the trade and investment agenda is the global network of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).
Peter Horn outlined the recovery strategy and reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to attracting productive FDI, where innovative European companies can add enormous value, and described Austrade support for Australian exporters. Austrade’s mandate is not only to support the trade and investment community, but also has specific responsibility to the international education and tourism sectors.
Alison Burrows provided an update on the FTA negotiations. The latest round went online as both sides seek an early completion of the negotiations despite COVID. Alison is optimistic that significant improvements in market access will be agreed and more cautious about progress on more complex FTA chapters such as intellectual property rights. She emphasized that neither the EU nor Australia has been among those introducing substantial new protectionist measures during the pandemic.
Michael Pulch, EU Ambassador to Australia, emphasised two recent episodes of EU-Australia cooperation: first, in proposing a WHO evaluation of the COVID pandemic and, second, in securing the multilateral interim appeal agreement that restores an appeal mechanism in the WTO.
The forum, sponsored by the European Australian Business Council and the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was hosted by EABC CEO, Jason Collins.
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