Australia’s special envoy to visit India to speed up FTA negotiations

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is serving as present Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s special trade envoy for India, plans to visit India on a three-day tour to take stock of bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

Abbott is likely to reach Indian capital New Delhi, later this week and he may also visit Mumbai to meet trade officials and businessmen.

India and Australia are expecting to agree on an early harvest package, or an interim free trade pact, by Christmas this year.

As per sources Abbott plans to visit India on December 1 and will visit Delhi and Mumbai.

Indian government is also looking over the free trade agreements. Earlier in September, Indian commerce and industry Minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart, Dan Tehan, had decided to conclude the FTA negotiations by end of December. This FTA agreement will help in paying the way for a full fledged comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) between both the countries in 2022.

The bilateral comprehensive economic corporation agreement (CECA) will cover market access, non-tariff barriers to trade in goods, financial services investments, intellectual property, geographical indications, movement of persons, sustainable development and many more.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in June 2020 decided to re-engage on CECA negotiations, which were earlier suspended between both the countries in 2015.

For Australia, India was seventh largest trading partner in 2020 and was also sixth largest export market, the Australian government had said. India is diversely rich in many sectors including coal and international education. India’s total trade with Australia in 2020-21 was dollar 12.29 billion.

 

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