Nationals leader David Littleproud has claimed the Prime Minister has weakened Australia's negotiating hand in a possible free trade agreement with the European Union.
The former agriculture minister said Anthony Albanese downplayed the complexity of striking a trade deal with the bloc and opted for domestic political point scoring on an international stage.
Mr Albanese, while in Madrid for the NATO summit, said EU negotiations were stalled due to the handling of the AUKUS deal by the Coalition, which ripped up an existing multi-billion dollar submarine deal with France.
Mr Littleproud said the comments undermined Australia's ongoing negotiations that stretched back to 2018.
"If you give away too much, you actually compromise your trading position," Mr Littleproud told ACM.
"We simply gave away the family jewels to grandstand on the international stage.
"[That] might win you a few domestic political points back here for blaming the last mob, but trade negotiations are a little bit more complex ... and if you treat it that way, then invariably you won't get a better deal."
Mr Albanese outlined the economic importance of free trade access to the EU, despite domestic concerns by industry groups that an inadequate deal could hinder Australia's agricultural sector.
"The EU trade deal is critical. Europe is Australia's second largest trading partner," he said.
"It is the second largest investor in Australia. The European economy is $AUD24 trillion strong and with 450 million people.
"This is a market where Australia can really benefit from progressing this trade deal."
The EU is seeking to impose a number of geographical indicator protections for products such as cheese, which could impact an Australian producer's ability to name specific products.
It is also understood a number of agricultural products could face sensitivity concerns which could slow down negotiations, and the EU may seek to enforce sustainability clauses relating to environment and climate change targets.
Mr Littleproud also outlined an EU deal is a multilateral deal with all 27 EU member states and is more complex than negotiating with just one country.
He was sceptical if a deal could be concluded in less than 18 months.
"This is a complex beast," Mr Littleproud said.
"I've had to negotiate with my counterpart in the EU and I can tell you, they are pushing hard for them to get as many of their goodies as they possibly can without us getting anything on our side."
The Prime Minister confirmed negotiations would ideally resume in the first quarter of 2023.
Mr Littleproud said the EU won't back down on certain issues such as geographical indicators and enforceable sustainability clauses, which would need to meet standards set by the bloc.
He also noted the agricultural and production sectors are looking for more certainty on the government's stance on geographic indicators and if they are a non-negotiation point.
Australian agricultural products such as dairy and wine would face bigger concessions if EU geographic indicators were strictly enforced.
"You cannot compare the agricultural production systems to Australia's, a totally different meeting to different management landscapes," Mr Littleproud said.
Head of trade at the Delegation of the European Union to Australia, Cornelis Keijzer said Mr Albanese's comments were welcomed and did signify a reset of relations, but would "prefer substance over speed" in deal negotiations.
"The more difficult issues have to be addressed," he said.
"I think we're approaching the moment when that can be made, but not this year.
"The Prime Minister said next year. I think that's a very reasonable assumption."
The delegate also flagged there had been some confusion about the geographic indicators, saying the EU was not seeking to prevent the use of certain generic names, but protect around 400 European products from speciality regions.
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