India & Australia to soon finalize decision on interim FTA

A 75-point National Logistics Reform Action Plan has also been prepared with specific actionable items on the policy.

To boost economic ties between the two countries, the commerce ministry announced on Thursday that India and Australia are likely to enter into negotiations for an interim free trade agreement (FTA).

“Both countries are expected to complete negotiations for the interim agreement soon,” the Ministry of Commerce said. The ministry also mentioned a similar agreement with the UAE which is expected to be signed in March 2022.

“This new strategic economic agreement is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods to USD 100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and increase trade in services to USD 15 billion,” it added. A 75-point National Logistics Reform Action Plan has also been prepared with specific actionable items on the policy. The revised policy is in its final stages of approval.

A Free trade Agreement (FTA) is an agreement between two or more countries where the countries agree on certain obligations that affect trade in goods and services, and protections for investors and intellectual property rights, among other topics.

On National Logistics Policy, it said that the policy has been developed after wide consultations with all ministries. The system will amalgamate the dissipated vendor bases on publishing portals onto GeM leading to advantages of economies of scale, better price discovery and dissemination of best practices in procurement.

It is keen to reduce the cost of logistics by about 5 per cent over the next 5 years, achieving a ranking in the top 25 of major global logistics-related performance indices. India and Australia have gotten closer strategically — and to counter China at that. As the COVID-19 pandemic was raging globally last year, New Delhi and Canberra upgraded ties to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and signed a defence pact, the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA).

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