Spring 2018 Update

With the second round of negotiations for an Australia-European Union (EU) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) scheduled for November, it is timely to reflect on the current trade relationship between Victoria and the EU.

Recently released merchandise trade statistics for 2017- 18 (Source: Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) displayed solid and consistent growth in two-way trade between Victoria and the European Union (EU) of A$17.9 billion up from A$16.6 billion in 2016-17.

While exports have grown marginally from A$1.71 to $1.72 billion, imports have increased from A$14.8 billion in 2016-17 to A$16.2 billion in 2017-18.

Germany is Victoria’s largest merchandise trading partner in the region with A$5.2 billion in trade in 2017-18, registering consistent growth over the past four financial years, followed by the UK with A$2.5 billion, Italy with A$2.4 billion and France with A$1.5 billion.

Victoria’s major merchandise exports to the EU in 2017-18 consisted primarily of food and fibre products and increasingly, pharmaceutical products. Major merchandise imports from the EU were passenger motor vehicles, goods vehicles and alcoholic beverages.

As Victorian businesses seek to expand in the EU, steps should be taken to ensure they comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted by the EU in 2016 and enforced from May 2018.

Businesses of any size may need to comply if they have an establishment in the EU, if they offer goods and services in the EU, or if they monitor the behaviour of individuals in the EU.

For further information about the GDPR, visit the websites of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and the European Commission.

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