Six years on, Australia is back in talks with India for an interim free trade deal

Josh Frydenberg Piyush Goyal india free trade deal

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg with Piyush Goyal, India’s commerce and industry minister. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas

Australia is set to enter into an interim trade deal with India, after negotiations stalled six years ago. 

Australia and India launched negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Co-Operation Agreement in May 2011, but the negotiations were suspended in 2015. 

Following trade talks in New Delhi, federal trade minister Dan Tehan and Piyush Goyal, India’s commerce and industry minister, said they had now relaunched negotiations on the agreement. 

They plan to strike an interim agreement by December, and flesh out a finalised agreement to occur by the end of 2022. 

The interim agreement covers goods, services, investment, energy and resources, logistics and transport, standards, rules of origin, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

India was Australia’s seventh biggest trading partner last year and sixth biggest export destination with coal and education the major purchases by the subcontinent. India also buys LNG, alumina and non-monetary gold from Australia. 

Two-way trade in goods and services grew from $13.6 billion in 2007 to $24.3 billion in 2020, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Petroleum products, medicines, polished diamonds, gold jewellery and clothing are the major imports to Australia. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged that Australian exports to India of traditional energy resources would continue. 

“In addition to that, a whole new line will open up now, we believe, in these new energy technologies and new fuel sources,” Morrison said. 

He said Australia understood there were challenges in getting the right deal with India. 

“We’ll continue to be patient about it and take the gains where we can take them,” Morrison said

“We will just keep adding and adding and adding I think to the strength of that Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement that we’re seeking.”

This article was first published by The Mandarin


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