Australia will ask the EU to lift export restrictions on vaccines and abandon plans to impose carbon tariffs on imports from outside the bloc in negotiations that begin on Monday.
Dan Tehan, Australia’s Trade Minister, told the Financial Times that he would warn his European counterparts about the dangers of the introduction. protective measures as the world seeks to recover from the deterioration caused by coronavirus.
He will also try to spark negotiations over a free trade deal between Australia and the UK, which has stalled over concerns in London about opening markets for Australian farm imports.
“Eventually the world will fall back if protectionism rages after this Covid-19 pandemic,” said Tehan, who will meet his counterparts in Germany, France, Brussels and London in the coming days. .
“I think we all need to step up now and make sure that everything we do is of a liberalization rather than a protectionist approach.”
Canberra has blamed the EU for the delay affecting the 3 million doses of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which severely disrupted the country’s immunization program. It also undermines Australia’s efforts to deliver vaccines for Papua New Guinea, a neighbor in the Pacific that suffered the deadly wave of Covid-19.
Tehan said in an interview that “vaccine nationalism” has made global efforts to combat the “raging” pandemic that is difficult to plan. Canberra wants to discuss with the EU and the World Trade Organization how countries can be work together to promote vaccine production.
Brussels says they just have block a single shipment 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine went to Australia on the grounds that the company had not fulfilled its contractual obligations with the EU. It has denied playing a role in disrupting exports of 3 million vaccines to Australia.
However, Tehan said Brussels sent a signal to AstraZeneca that any application to export vaccines outside the bloc would be rejected.
“They did [AstraZeneca] is encouraged not to apply and that means the 3 million doses that we think we have contracted have yet to come to Australia, ”he said.
He added that New Zealand’s trade minister called him to say he could speak to Wellington as well as worried that “vaccine nationalism” would hurt the entire Pacific region. .
Tehan will also use his first trip to Europe as trade minister to lobby his peers to abandon plans for carbon border adjustment mechanism. The plan aims to increase the cost of imports from non-EU countries, countries that have not yet registered Paris climate targets or have committed to zero net emissions. Proponents say it is important to prevent “carbon leaks,” whereby one country’s efforts to cut emissions have spurred the use of fossil fuels elsewhere.
Canberra, yes denial of commitment to zero net emissions by 2050, concerns that these measures could affect Australian exporters.
Tehan, Australia’s environmental record protector, said: “Carbon frontier taxes will be used as protective measures and that doesn’t benefit anyone,” said Tehan, who protects the environmental records. of Australia, adding that they have already met their Kyoto and Paris climate treaty targets.
“We should look at very active ways to address this problem through the liberalization and reduction of tariffs on environmental goods and services instead of looking for ways to introduce additional tariffs.”
Tehan said he also wants to expedite negotiations on a free trade deal with the UK, Can’t meet predecessor’s target on an agreement by the end of 2020.
Negotiators, he said, need to be more ambitious and go beyond animal welfare standards debates, a major problem in open access to the UK market for Australian agricultural products.
“What we want to ensure is that the free trade agreement is about actually liberalizing market access for agriculture, not a debate about who has good standards,” he added. Best.
“Given the current structure of both our economies, in many ways the UK benefits more from the complete liberalization of goods and services than Australia does.”