With an aim to work towards launching free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union, trade minister Steven Ciobo announced last week he was on his way to Europe for meetings with trade ministers and business leaders.
In a media release, Mr Ciobo said he would travel to Hungary, France and Switzerland.
“In Budapest I will meet members of the dynamic group of European countries known as the Visegrád Group (V4) to explore opportunities to strengthen our economic and trade relationship through an Australia-EU FTA,” he said.
“Comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the V4 has a combined GDP of more than $1 trillion, steady economic growth and a pro-trade outlook similar to Australia’s.”
In Paris, Mr Ciobo plans to meet members of the French National Assembly and French business leaders to advocate for an Australia-EU FTA.
“An Australia-EU FTA will create new opportunities for Australian businesses; driving exports, economic growth and job creation,” he said.
“Launching negotiations will also send an important message to the world at a time of rising protectionism.”
The trade minister also plans to meet the EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström at the World Economic Forum in Davos.