Sat, 27 Nov 2021

New Delhi [India], September 30 (ANI): Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and Australia's Minister for Trade and Investment Dan Tehan have launched the resumption of negotiations on the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

Both the Ministers discussed a range of issues during the 17th India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission meeting today. Key issues which were discussed during the meet include, 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 WTO scheduled to be held at the end of this year.

Apart from it, both the nations 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, according to a joint statement.

The Joint Ministerial Commission detailed the areas that will be covered by the interim agreement consistent with Article XXIV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, including goods, services, investment, energy and resources, logistics and transport, standards, rules of origin, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

Both the Ministers also agreed to explore government procurement. It was agreed that there would be an exchange of offers by the end of October 2021.

Looking to build on the progress made by both countries on earlier bilateral negotiations, both Ministers agreed on the need for a balanced trade agreement that encourages expanded trade and investment flow to the benefit of both of our economies, and that reflects a shared commitment to the rules-based international trading system.

Reaffirming their commitment to working together, both ministers agreed to strengthen the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open, and inclusive multilateral trading system embodied by the World Trade Organization. They also agreed to work towards an ambitious and balanced outcome at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva, Switzerland, read the statement.

Australia and India are important trading partners. India-Australia bilateral trade has exceeded AUD 24 billion dollars last year. Major Indian exports to Australia are petroleum products, medicines, polished diamonds, gold jewellery, apparels etc, while key Australian exports to India include coal, LNG, alumina and non-monetary gold. In services, major Indian exports relate to travel, telecom and computer, government and financial services, while Australian services exports were principally in education and personal related travel.

Last year, India was Australia's seventh-largest trading partner and sixth largest export destination, driven by coal and international education. (ANI)

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