India, Australia hold trade talks; discuss way forward for CECA’s early ending

India and Australia launched the CECA in May 2011. There have been nine rounds of negotiations, the most recent one held in September 2015.
On August 19, Piyush Goyal stated that India was likely to finalise mini-trade deals with Australia and the United Kingdom.(Twitter/@PiyushGoyal)
On August 19, Piyush Goyal stated that India was likely to finalise mini-trade deals with Australia and the United Kingdom.(Twitter/@PiyushGoyal)
Published on Aug 27, 2021 02:20 PM IST
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Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi

Union commerce and industries minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday held a virtual meeting with his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan, where the two leaders appreciated the progress made in three rounds of talks between the chief trade negotiators of both sides. Goyal and Tehan also discussed the way forward for an early conclusion of the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

A joint statement issued on Thursday read, “The ministers appreciated the progress made in three rounds of talks between the chief trade negotiators of both sides and discussed the way forward for an early conclusion of a bilateral (CECA). In this regard, the Ministers directed officials to speed up the negotiations and to meet as often as required to achieve an early harvest announcement by December 2021 on an interim agreement to liberalise and deepen bilateral trade in goods and services, and pave the way for a comprehensive agreement.”

Goyal and Tehan noted that negotiations take into consideration the views of business, industry and other stakeholders, and decided to begin consultations on the potential opportunities and impacts of an interim agreement as a pathway to a full CECA, the joint statement added.

India and Australia launched the CECA in May 2011. There have been nine rounds of negotiations, the most recent one held in September 2015. However, there has not been much progress due to India's sensitivity to Australia's demand for market access in dairy products, according to a report by Live Mint on August 20.

On August 19, Piyush Goyal stated that India was likely to finalise mini-trade deals with Australia and the United Kingdom. (UK) Addressing export promotion council leaders in Mumbai last week, Goyal said that Australia “kind of agreed to do an early harvest agreement with India,” and urged the leaders to assess areas where India could finalise the early harvest with Australia, the Live Mint report added.

And three weeks ago, the Union commerce and industries minister met former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott on August 5 and discussed the roadmap for strengthening trade ties between the two natural allies.

Abbott, who was recently appointed as Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s “special trade envoy for India”, arrived in India on August 2 for a week-long visit and met ministers, business people and think tanks to energise bilateral economic ties. Australia’s high commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell said in a statement that Australia was committed to strengthening the economic relationship with India, adding the former is keen to deepen trade and investment links with India and take this relationship further.

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Thursday, July 07, 2022