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Australia threatens to withdraw from the EU free trade agreement

Australia has threatened to withdraw from a free trade agreement with the EU by not allowing Australian cheese, wine and delicatessen producers to use controlled designations of origin.

Australia’s Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt, justified the country’s position, on ABC public television, stating that “it’s not just a sensitive issue for European growers, it’s a sensitive issue for Australian growers as well.”

“After World War II, Australia experienced a huge wave of immigration from Europe,” Watt said.

“Our growers brought products from their countries of origin and made them here,” he explained.

The minister guaranteed that if “Australia cannot reach a good agreement, it is better that it not conclude it”, but added that the negotiations with the EU, underway for five years, will continue.

As part of the negotiations, the EU presented Australia with a list of more than 400 products associated with member countries that it wants to see protected, such as feta cheese, Parma ham or Irish brandy.

Brussels intends, for example, that the use of the term “roquefort” be reserved for sheep’s milk cheese produced in the vicinity of the French village of the same name and that only Dutch cheesemakers can claim the name “gouda”.

Canberra has refused to concede to an agreement that allows the reduction of customs duties applied at the EU borders that affect Australian agricultural exports.

For the EU, the agreement made it possible to reduce dependence on imports from some countries, mainly from Russia.

Source: Observadora

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