India and Australia working towards Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, says PM Modi
India-Australia bilateral economic relations have been growing in recent years
India and Australia are working towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), Prime Minister Modi said after meeting his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in New Delhi on Friday.
An Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) between the two sides had come into force last year.
Prime Minister Modi was addressing a joint media conference after the first in-person India-Australia Summit and delegation level talks with PM Albanese.
"Delighted to meet my friend, PM @AlboMP in Delhi. Our talks focussed on diverse subjects including maritime cooperation, defence, renewable energy, trade and education. Key agreements were also signed today which will boost people-to-people ties between India and Australia," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
At the joint media briefing, the Australian Prime Minister also expressed hope that the CECA would be finalised this year.
“Today, PM Modi and I agreed on an early conclusion of our ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement as soon as possible. I am hopeful that we will be able to finalise it this year,” PM Albanese said.
India-Australia bilateral economic relations have been growing in recent years. The Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) entered into force from December 2022. This marked the first Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by India with any developed country in a decade.
ECTA has resulted in immediate reduction of duty to zero on 96% of Indian exports to Australia in value (that is 98% of the tariff lines) and zero duty on 85% of Australia’s exports (in value) to India. The bilateral trade was USD 27.5 billion in 2021. Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India and India is Australia’s 9th largest trading partner.
According to official estimates, with the ECTA in force, there is potential for bilateral trade to reach around US$ 50 billion in five years. Indian Yoga teachers and Chefs will gain with an annual quota. There has been a resolution of Double Taxation of Indian IT companies which will save them over US$ 200 mn per year.
'PEOPLE TO PEOPLE RELATIONS'
People-to-people relations are a significant feature of India-Australia ties, Prime Minister Modi said.
In his remarks to the media, PM Modi highlighted the growing people-to-people relations and described it as a “significant” part of India-Australia ties. He said he had also raised the issue of attacks on temples in Australia.
According to Prime Minister Modi, it is a matter of concern that in the past few weeks, there have been regular reports of attacks on temples in Australia. It is natural that such news is very worrying and distressing for everyone in India, he said.
“I expressed our thoughts and concerns to Prime Minister Albanese. He has assured me that the safety of the Indian community is a priority for him. Our teams will remain in regular contact on this issue and cooperate as necessary,” Prime Minister Modi added.
According to the Australian Prime Minister, the frequent high-level contacts between Australia and India has further strengthened cooperation across a range of areas including trade & investment, climate and energy, defence and security, and between the people of our two countries.