Goyal and Tehan hope to conclude India-Australia FTA negotiations by end of 2022

Trade Minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan aim to conclude bilateral free trade agreement negotiations by the end of 2022 and have put in place an interim agreement by Christmas this year.

“The interim agreement can cover a number of areas, including goods, services, investments, public procurement, rules of origin, energy, standards … We hope to exchange our offers here the end of October, “Tehan said at a joint press conference after meeting Goyal in New Delhi on Thursday.

With the free trade pact, officially known as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECSC) in place, the two countries hope to double their engagement in all areas, not just trade, in a short period of time. , added the minister.

“Ambitious timeline”

India was Australia’s seventh largest trading partner and sixth largest export market in 2020, thanks to coal and international education, according to the Australian government. India’s total trade with Australia in 2020-2021 was $ 12.29 billion.

Goyal said ambitious deadlines had been set for the trade pacts and negotiating teams would immediately start working to achieve them. “In the interim agreement, we will opt for the fruits at hand,” he said.

India and Australia started talks on an ECSC in 2011, but negotiations were suspended in 2015. Goyal said it was because India and Australia were then negotiating the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership, which included the ten members of ASEAN and six others. India subsequently withdrew from RCEP, mainly due to concerns about China. The negotiations also faced some issues at the time, as India was unwilling to meet Australia’s demands for better market access for agricultural products while its own visa liberalization demands for the workers were thwarted by Australia.

“A New Perspective”

The Australian minister said he and Goyal bring fresh eyes and a fresh perspective to the negotiations and are looking at all available opportunities.

In June 2020, as part of the joint declaration on a comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Australia, Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Narendra Modi decided to re-engage on a bilateral ECSC while appropriately considering the discussions bilateral earlier, where a mutually agreed way forward can be found.

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