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Anand Sharma, Aus minister to discuss FTA next month

business Updated: Apr 28, 2010 19:40 IST

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India and Australia are expected to soon complete the feasibility study for a free trade agreement to enhance the $ 22-billion bilateral commerce.

Australian trade minister Simon Crean, who is scheduled to visit the country early next month, would discuss the market-opening pact with commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma.

"Crean will meet Sharma and they will discuss the next stage of free trade agreement (FTA)," Australia' senior trade commissioner-South Asia Peter Linford said.

The feasibility study is examining the potential impact on Australia and India of an FTA, including implications for economic growth, trade in goods and services and investment, as well as for other commercial linkages.

"The feasibility study (started in 2007) is close to complete," Linford said, adding Crean along with a business delegation would start his week-long India visit from May 2.

Linford also said Indian businessmen should look at Australia for investments in sectors like mining, renewable energy, construction, aviation, auto and IT. "Indian businessmen can also look at sectors like education, financial and legal services, design and consultancy," he said.

In 2008-09, India was Australia's fourth largest market for goods exports, fifth largest market for services and fourth largest market for goods and services combined.

Two-way trade in goods and services in 2008-09 was about $ 22 billion, making India the eighth largest trading partner of Australia.