CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, says she wants a free trade agreement with Australia as soon as possible as an example against protectionism.

Mogherini met with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Sydney on Wednesday to discuss a range of issues including trade liberalization.

The Italian diplomat said free trade negotiations were launched in June and the first round of talks was held last month, so the "rhythm and the pace is quite intense."

She told reporters the deal is particularly important "in this time of global uncertainty and ... some tendencies to protectionism."