Petrol standards to be key in Australia-EU free trade negotiations

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-02 14:31:41|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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CANBERRA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Australia will consider raising its fuel standards as part of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) according to the nation's Trade Minister.

Simon Birmingham, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, said on Monday that the government will give consideration to all the EU's requests to secure the landmark FTA.

According to The Guardian, the EU has raised concerns about Australia's low fuel standards, which prevent European vehicles with higher standard engines from being sold in the country.

Australia is ranked 66th in the world for fuel quality.

The most popular unleaded petrol allows sulphur levels of up to 150 parts per million (ppm), 15 times more than the 10 ppm allowed by the EU.

"As part of the free trade negotiations, we will consider everything that is put on the table. Whether we agree to it is a different matter," Birmingham told The Guardian.

"It is not Australian practice to simply adopt European standards, we urge and encourage common adoption of international standards where possible.

"But we will work through in a practical way any of these issues and see what may be possible in the Australian context, but ultimately we will only be doing any agreement if it is in the overall benefit of Australia."

The EU is also pushing to enshrine Australia's commitment to the Paris climate agreement in the FTA.

Under the agreement, Australia committed to reducing emissions by up to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Birmingham said he was open to enshrining it in the FTA.

"Our commitment to Paris is firm and resolute and we are happy to reinforce that commitment in any forum," he said.