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Feta on the agenda as Australian Minister heads to Europe for trade deal discussions

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Australian Trade Minister, Don Farrell MP, will travel to Europe this week in the fight for feta, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Mr Farrell hopes to secure Australia’s free trade deal with the European Union (EU) – a negotiation that started in 2018 to push for reduced taxes on imports and exports, and improve business access to the $23 trillion European market. 

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Greece is the world’s largest producer of feta, producing 120,000 tons per year and making up 28% of global exports.

Mr Farrell said the free trade deal could be one of the biggest Australia’s ever negotiated.

Mr Farrell will meet with European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, French Trade Minister Olivier Becht, and members of the European Parliament to complete the deal. 

The EU is hoping for a deal with Australia by early 2023, while Mr Farrell expects a deal will be finalised by midway through 2023. 

“We want to signal to the Europeans that we’re fair dinkum about this. We are in a hurry,” Mr Farrell told The SMH. 

Photo: Rhett Wyman / Trade Minister Don Farrell is travelling to Europe to negotiate the free trade agreement.

“We want to keep using feta, parmesan and prosecco, that’s the position we’ve adopted. We’re not changing our negotiating position.”

This will be the 13th round of negotiations but Mr Farrell said he believes feta, and other ingredients such as parmesan and prosecco, are in place for a “successful negotiation.”

“Europeans, just like us, are entitled to put issues on the table, and this is a serious genuine negotiation. So we’ll listen to their arguments, and hopefully they’ll listen to ours,” he said. 

Mr Farrell will also travel to the UK in the hopes of signing the deal with Britain for the free-trade agreement which was passed in parliament in November 2022. The minister will meet with Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and counterparts to encourage finalising the deal quickly.

Mr Farrell’s trip to Europe closely follows confirmation of the new Australia-India free trade agreement, which will come into effect on December 29, saving Australian exporters about $2 billion a year.

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