Here’s how by 2023, India & Australia will finish negotiations broadening their Free Trade Agreement

Relationships between India and Australia: After signing an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) on December 29, 2022, the two countries are currently discussing to expand the agreement’s scope to become a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

In the most recent development, Australia and India reaffirmed their commitment to completing negotiations to broaden the current Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by year’s end with a goal of boosting bilateral commerce to USD 100 billion.

The subject came up during the meeting of the joint ministerial commission between Australian counterpart Don Farrell and Indian minister of trade and industry Piyush Goyal. Significantly, Farrell is travelling with Anthony Albanese, the prime minister of Australia, who is on his first official trip to India.

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India and Australia previously adopted an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) on December 29, 2022, and are currently negotiating to expand the pact’s scope for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

“ECTA was the first stage of our economic engagement. We are now entering into phase-2 of our discussions where we are looking at a much wider ambit of subjects and taking this into a CECA,” Goyal stated while addressing the media in New Delhi.

Albanese stated that both parties are looking at firming up the ambitious CECA by 2023 following the first India-Australia summit talks held here on March 10 on a variety of important matters. The two Prime Ministers gave the concerned officials a deadline of three months to hasten the conclusion of a Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement (MMPA), according to a joint statement.

On the date for the CECA negotiations’ conclusion, Goyal stated that although completing anything by a deadline is always “dangerous” because “you may land up making mistakes,” “we” must do things fast.

He claims that both trade ministers are dedicated to accelerating the negotiations.

Both the Prime Ministers have “collectively tasked us to work towards closing the CECA negotiations within this calendar year. We would love to do that. We would work to engage in the same spirit as ECTA and hope for quick outcomes without compromising on its quality,” Goyal continued.

“We are very very dissatisfied” with the USD 30-billion bilateral trade and the officials of India and Australia have kept a target of USD 45-50 billion in the next five years. Both the ministers have expressed “unhappiness” towards the trade negotiators and said they “will be much more ambitious and aim for a USD 100-billion trade between the two economies”, Goyal stated.

(With inputs from PTI)