India and Australia have agreed to conclude the negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement “as soon as possible” as there is huge potential to enhance bilateral commerce in the next five years, said a joint statement.
The statement was issued after the meeting of Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Australia’s Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell in New Delhi on March 11.
Both countries already implemented an economic cooperation and trade agreement (ECTA) in December 2022, and are now negotiating to widen the scope of that pact into a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA). The ministers noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese look forward to swift progress in negotiations and for an early conclusion of the ambitious CECA, which will build on the foundation laid by the ECTA, including new areas of trade, investment and cooperation. The CECA will create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and improve the general welfare in both countries, the statement said.
The ministers also highlighted the importance of a smooth and timely clean energy transition.
“India-Australia bilateral trade exceeded USD 31 billion last financial year. Both agreed that given the trade complementarities between the two countries, there is considerable potential for significantly enhancing bilateral trade within the next 5 years,” the statement said.