India and Australia seek a balanced trade agreement that encourages expanded trade and investment flows

India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) is expected to be concluded in 12 months as the two sides have announced reaching an understanding on the interim agreement and finalizing it in the next 30 days.

This was informed by India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal during a joint press conference with Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan in New Delhi on Friday.

India and Australia expected to sign the Interim Agreement in March 2022.The areas covered under the interim agreement would include goods, services, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, customs procedure, and legal and institutional issues.

Speaking on the occasion, Piyush Goyal said he had very fruitful discussions with his Australian counterpart and significant progress has been made in advancing the FTA between the two nations.

Goyal said India and Australia were natural partners and complemented each other in a variety of ways, a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said.

The Union Minister said that discussions between the two nations happened with openness and concern and sensitivity for the issues on both sides.

Terming the negotiations as a watershed moment in India-Australia bilateral relationship, Goyal expressed his gratitude to the Prime Ministers of both nations, Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison for their leadership, guidance and support.

He also complimented officers from both sides who worked proactively to build a comprehensive economic partnership which will be a win-win for both, opening up huge opportunities for people of India and Australia.

The Minister exhorted that India and Australia are linked by the great Indian Ocean; connected by history, shared inheritances and deeply interlinked destinies.

The CECA would be a substantial opportunity for both economies and a significant moment in the India-Australia bilateral relationship.

Both Ministers agreed on the need for a balanced trade agreement that encourages expanded trade and investment flows to the benefit of both of the economies, and reflects a shared commitment to the rules-based international trading system. Ministers also agreed to expeditiously resolve tax-related issues faced by Indian software firms in Australia.

Responding to a question, Goyal said that Quad has brought the four countries -- the US, India, Australia and Japan -- closer and this had also enabled India and Australia to come closer to each other in economic relations as well.

Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan also announced that on 21st February, Australia would be open to travelers from all over the world and extended his invitation to Indians to visit Australia.

“The Minister opined that as a result of MoU, the tourism flows between the two countries will continue to grow and that the education relationship between the two nations would also flourish. We are looking at mutual recognition of qualifications in Australia so that students can now study in both nations,” he said.

The Australian Trade Minister expressed confidence that the interim agreement would be a significant milestone in the relationship between our two countries.

He said that the warmth of the relationship between the two nations and the honesty and transparency with which the negotiations happened would certainly help build very strong and robust economic ties.