Feasibility study on Indo-Australian FTA to be finalised by April

A file photo of Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese.

A file photo of Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese.  

The feasibility study on the Indo-Australian Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will be finalised by April this year with both governments expected to begin negotiations soon, according to a top Australian official.

“The study will be finalised next month. It (study) will go to each government for their consideration and depending on its outcome, negotiations will commence soon,” Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese told PTI.

The study was a comprehensive one, covering all trade sectors, he said, adding that it would entail tariff liberalisation and removal of other barriers in trade.

The feasibility study, which began in August 2007, examined the potential impact on Australia and India of an FTA, including implications for economic growth, trade in goods and services and investment, as well as for other commercial linkages.

Asked whether there would be a considerable increase in Indo-Australian trade once the FTA has been finalised, he said.

“We won’t be working to any numerical target because the market will develop along the lines. Therefore we don’t set up targets.” he said.

The official-level Joint Study Group (JSG) of both nations has met three times in New Delhi (April and August 2008, and September 2009) and in Melbourne (May 2008).

According to the data from the Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce, India was Australia’s fourth largest market for exports in 2008-09, the fifth largest for services and the fourth largest for goods and services.

India is also Australia’s fastest growing major export market - with both goods and services exports increasing by an annual average of over 25 per cent over the last five years.

The two-way trade in goods and services in 2008-09 totaled nearly Australian dollar 22 billion, making India that country’s eighth largest trading partner.

Currently, more than 150 Australian companies operate in India. Indian corporate groups like Tatas, Reliance, Adtiya Birla, Mahindras and Oswals have a substantial business presence in Australia

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:17:38 PM |

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