Canberra: Australia’s Minister for Trade Dan Tehan said talks with the European Union over a trade deal have been postponed, as a row over Canberra’s decision to cancel a $40 billion deal with France escalates.
Australia last month canceled a deal with France’s Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and will instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with US and British technology after striking a trilateral security partnership with those two countries.
The cancellation has angered France, which accused both Australia and the United States of stabbing it in the back. Paris recalled its ambassadors from both Canberra and Washington.
In solidarity with France, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has questioned whether the bloc could strike a trade deal with Australia.
Tehan, in news reports, declined to comment on the role the submarine deal had played in delaying negotiations but confirmed the 12th round of talks scheduled for Oct 12 had been postponed by a month.