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Australia expects to revive FTA talks with EU at G20 summit

Australia’s Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayres has identified reviving stalled talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) as his priority at the G20 trade and investment ministerial meeting.

Prior to departing for India’s ‘Pink City’ Jaipur on Wednesday, Ayres said EU officials have so far “offered too little and asked too much” in negotiations, Xinhua news agency reported.

Talks on the landmark deal broke down in July amid a dispute over Australian farmers’ export access to the vast EU market.

Ayres, who will meet with his European counterpart as Australia’s representative at the G20 trade and investment ministerial meeting on Thursday and Friday, said a deal would only be possible with major changes to the EU’s import quotas for meat.

Despite the ongoing dispute, ministerial officials from both sides have expressed optimism that a deal will be reached.

Don Farrell, the minister for trade, said in July that negotiations would be concluded with goodwill, hard work and perseverance.

His sentiment was echoed by Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s minister for foreign affairs, who on Tuesday night told a webinar run by Australian think tank the Lowy Institute that both sides should now strive to finalize an FTA.

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