Trade talks between Australia and the EU postponed as Aukus row deepens

Trade talks between Australia and the European Union have been postponed as a row with France over the so-called Aukus security partnership deepens, The BBC reports.

Last month, Canberra cancelled a $37bn ($27.5bn) deal with France to build a fleet of conventional submarines.

Instead, it will build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with US and UK technology.

The decision angered Paris, which called the deal a "stab in the back" by the US and Australia.

In fact, soon after the Aukus agreement was announced, France recalled its ambassadors from both Canberra and Washington.

The ambassador to Washington will now return to his post, but it is not clear if the ambassador to Canberra will do the same.

In solidarity with France, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has questioned whether the EU would be able to strike a trade deal with Australia.

Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan (pictured) declined to comment on what part, if any, the submarine deal had played in delaying negotiations but confirmed that the next round of talks, which were scheduled to start on 12th October, had been postponed until the following month.

"I will meet with my EU counterpart Valdis Dombrovskis next week to discuss the 12th negotiating round, which will now take place in November rather than October," he said.

In June, after the last round of talks over a free trade deal, the European Commission said negotiations had "progressed in most areas of the future agreement".

The next round of talks was expected to include a number of subjects including trade, investment and intellectual property rights.

The EU is Australia's third-biggest trading partner, with trade in goods and services totalling almost $72bn last year.

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