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After a decade, India and Australia may finalise free trade agreement next week

Last time, the two countries discussed the FTA issue about six years back. The progress in the talks couldn't take place due to tariffs reduction. However, during the recently concluded 2+2 ministerial dialogue held in the national capital, the ministers from both sides had discussed it. 

After a decade India and Australia may finalise free trade agreement next week gcw
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New Delhi, First Published Sep 23, 2021, 4:05 PM IST
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The discussion on the free trade agreement between India and Australia, which began almost a decade ago, is expected to see a final shape with the arrival of Australian trade, tourism and investment minister Dan Tehan next week to take forward the talk on it.  Last time, the two countries discussed the FTA issue about six years back. The progress in the talks couldn't take place due to tariffs reduction. However, during the recently concluded 2+2 ministerial dialogue held in the national capital, the ministers from both sides had discussed it. 

Dan Tehan stated at an event in Australia, "We (Australia and India) are working towards an agreement that corresponds with our ideals and supports greater trade and investment flows to the benefit of both nations' economies and peoples."

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Before the ministerial-level dialogue, former Australian prime minister Tony Abbot arrived in New Delhi in August this year to give a fresh impetus to trade relations between the two countries. He visited India in Australian prime minister Scott Morrison's 'Special Trade  Envoy for India'. 

The negotiations on FTA, which began in 2011, was supposed to conclude in 2015 with only ten rounds of talks held between the two sides.  The negotiations got into limbo after the Australian side demanded reducing and removing tariffs on agricultural and dairy products. Tehan also stated that both parties are determined to making an early harvest announcement on an interim agreement to liberalise and deepen bilateral trade in products and services, paving the path for the early conclusion of a complete CECA.

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Stating that his meeting with Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal will be crucial, the Australian minister said, "We are seeking to make progress towards an interim deadline. It's an ambitious approach .. but it can be achieved if both sides are seeking a truly complementary agreement." He also mentioned that Australia has a stake in India's success as its economic story offers enormous promise.

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