India, Australia to conclude early harvest trade deal by December
- The two countries decided to expedite the long-pending trade deal at a meeting between commerce minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan
India and Australia on Thursday agreed to conclude an early harvest trade deal by December before signing a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) by the end of 2022.
The two countries decided to expedite the long-pending trade deal at a meeting between commerce minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan, which marked the formal resumption of the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations.
“We have agreed on aggressive timelines,” Goyal said at a joint press conference after the 17th India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission meeting. India has been negotiating the CECA covering trade in goods, services, investment and related issues since 2011.
Key issues included the expeditious negotiation of a bilateral CECA, resolution of tax-related issues faced by Indian software firms in Australia, ensuring increased two-way trade and the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) scheduled to be held at the end of this year, a commerce ministry statement said.
“Both India and Australia reaffirmed commitment to conclude a CECA, including to reach an interim agreement by December 2021 to liberalise and deepen bilateral trade in goods and services, and to conclude the negotiations on a full CECA by the end of 2022,” it said.
They also agreed to explore government procurement. It was agreed that there would be an exchange of offers by the end of October 2021, the statement said. The ministers agreed on the need for a balanced trade deal that will benefit the two economies, and reflects shared commitment to the rules-based international trading system.
They also agreed to work towards an ambitious and balanced outcome at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva, Switzerland.