India, Australia free trade deal 2021: On the path to an early resolution

India, Australia free trade deal 2021: On Thursday the two countries agreed to conclude an early harvest deal by December before signing a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) by the end of 2022. The two countries have decided to expedite the long-pending trade deal at a meeting between Commerce Minister Piyush Goal and his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan which marked the formal resumption of the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations.

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“We have agreed on aggressive timelines (for concluding the trade pact)”, Piyush Goyal said at a joint press conference. India has been negotiating the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) covering trade in goods, services, investments, and related issues since 2011.

Both the ministers have discussed the issue during the 17th India-Australia joint Ministerial Commission meeting on Thursday. “The key issues included the expeditious negotiations 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”, according to an official statement.

They also agreed to explore government procurement. It was agreed that there would be an exchange of offers by the end of October 2021, according to an official statement.

The Ministers agreed on the need for a balanced trade deal that will benefit the two economies and reflects a shared commitment to the rules-based international trading system.

Dan Tehan said, “What we have agreed today is to make sure that India, Australia agreement aims to seal trade policy pact by 2022”.

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