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Australia’s new pacts with France and Papua New Guinea and the EU–Mercosur

France will allow Australian naval forces to operate from its military facilities in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The agreement will strengthen cooperation not only in defence but also in economic and scientific terms. It is a signal of improvement in mutual French-Australian relations, which deteriorated after the announcement of the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the US and the UK in September 2021 and after the Australians terminated the contract with France to construct conventionally powered submarines.

Papua New Guinea will sign a bilateral security pact with Australia. It will include, among others, the work of Australian police officers under the command of New Guineans. The agreement intends to develop the capabilities of the Papua New Guinea army and police. Meanwhile, Pakistan has formally applied to join BRICS, a group of five major emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The authorities of Germany and Brazil expressed their expectation that the negotiations between the European Union and the Mercosur free trade zone (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay), which have been ongoing for over 20 years, will soon result in finalising a new agreement. It would create one of the largest free trade zones in the world, with a population of over 700 million people. The basic agreement between the parties reached in 2019 has not been implemented due to specific concerns, including the protection of South American rainforests and the desire of some European countries to protect farmers from cheaper imports from South America.

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