Building the momentum towards an interim free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Australia, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Dan Tehan on Thursday held detailed and broad-ranging talks to enhance India-Australia economic and trade ties.
With "both sides working towards a mutually beneficial agreement for both our people and economies" -- as Goyal tweeted -- the ongoing negotiations are expected to culminate in an India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) covering trade in goods, services and investment among others. India-Australia bilateral trade has exceeded USD 24 billion last year. The current negotiations, which take forward a virtual conference on December 21, 2021, between the two ministers, are likely to have featured government procurement energy and resources, logistics and transport, standards, rules of origin among other areas which were to form part of the discussions going forward after a press conference held jointly by Goyal and Tehan in September.
"Delighted to further the ongoing negotiations on India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement along with my Australian counterpart Dan Tehan in New Delhi. We had an engaging discussion on ways to further deepen India-Australia economic and trade ties," Goyal said in a series of tweets.
India and Australia have pressed forward for an early conclusion of an interim agreement on the CECA through a series of meetings and virtual conversations since the two ministers officially launched negotiations in September 2021 aimed at concluding an early harvest agreement by the end of 2021 and a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement by 2022.
There has been substantial progress made in various rounds of talks between the chief negotiators of both sides with the two trade ministers agreeing to move with "aggressive timelines for concluding the trade pact".
An early harvest agreement is aimed at liberalising tariffs on the trade of certain goods between two countries or trading blocs before a comprehensive agreement.
In the case of India and Australia, an early harvest is likely to deal with granting increased market access to Australian wines as well as help enhance mobility between the two countries. (ANI)