To further enhance bilateral engagement between India and Australia, early conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement was stressed.

India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, and Australia’s Minister for Trade and Tourism Senator Don Farrell met on Saturday to discuss next steps for further enhancing the bilateral economic relationship.

They discussed implementation of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), while deliberating over their engagement in the G20, the Indo-Pacific Framework and the World Trade Organisation, said the Joint Statement of the 18th India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission. The two countries also explored ways forward to developing two-way investment.

The two ministers noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese look forward to swift progress in negotiations and for an early conclusion of an ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), which will build on the foundation laid by the ECTA, including new areas of trade, investment and cooperation, maintained the Joint Statement.

The CECA will create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and improve the general welfare in both countries.

The two ministers look forward to concluding the CECA as soon as possible, are pleased with the progress in resolving various bilateral technical market access issues and look forward to continuing engagement, the Joint Statement said.

They highlighted the importance of a smooth and timely clean energy transition as both countries work towards achieving their respective net zero goals.

The two ministers noted the complementary nature of Australia and India’s economies and committed to further enhancing economic, technology, and trade and investment cooperation to get to net zero emissions.

Minister Farrell reiterated Australia’s strong support for India’s G20 Presidency. Ministers agreed that the G20 needs to help the world navigate a pathway back to strong, sustainable, and inclusive growth, including accelerating progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

They agreed that Australia and India share high ambition for the IPEF, as evidenced at the special round of IPEF negotiations in New Delhi, and would continue to work together though IPEF on areas of mutual interest, including the clean economy and resilient supply chains, the Joint Statement maintained.

The two ministers reaffirmed the importance of the multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core. They agreed to build on the success of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva and reaffirmed their commitment towards improving WTO functions and having a fully functioning dispute settlement system by 2024.

They agreed to work towards a productive engagement in the run up to the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2024.

The two ministers acknowledged that Australia and India are important trading partners. India-Australia bilateral trade exceeded US$31 billion last financial year.

Both agreed that given the trade complementarities between the two countries, there is considerable potential for significantly enhancing bilateral trade within the next 5 years.