France and Australia agree submarines won't stop trade deal
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — French and Australian officials said Monday that France’s anger over a canceled submarine contract will not derail negotiations on an Australia-European Union free trade deal. France withdrew its ambassadors to the United States and Australia after President Joe Biden revealed last week a new alliance including Australia and Britain that would deliver an Australian fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines. The deal sunk a 90 billion Australian dollar ($66 billion) contract for French majority state-owned Naval Group to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines for Australia. The money would have been spent over 35 years. French Ambassador to Australia Jean-Pierre Thebault denied media reports that France was lobbying the European Union not to sign the trade deal with Australia that has been under negotiation since 2018.