By Diyar Guldogan
Australia welcomes EU leaders' green light to open negotiations to create an Australia-EU free trade agreement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Wednesday.
"The Turnbull Government will seek an ambitious and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to drive Australian exports, economic growth and create new Australian jobs.
"We will be working to secure better access for Australian food and agriculture products, creating the framework for open, fair and equitable trade," Turnbull said in a statement.
His remarks came a day after the Council of EU, the main decision-making body of the union, adopted the negotiating directives for free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.
Turnbull also said he wants to meet EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in Australia in June to formally launch talks.
"As a bloc, the EU is Australia’s second-largest trading partner; third-largest export destination; and second-largest services export market. The EU was Australia’s largest source of foreign investment in 2017," he added.