India and Australia will complete negotiations on a free trade agreement by the end of 2023

Both ministers expressed their “disappointment” to the participants in the trade negotiations. (File)

New Delhi:

During a joint ministerial meeting between Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Don Farrell on Saturday, both India and Australia committed to finalize negotiations on expanding the scope of the existing free trade agreement by the end of 2023. the countries aimed to increase bilateral trade to 100 billion dollars.

Australia’s Trade and Tourism Minister Don Farrell, who is on an official visit to New Delhi with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, said the two countries will “reach” that goal.

Last year, on December 29, India and Australia implemented the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) and are now negotiating its extension to the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

“ECTA was the first stage of our economic agreement. We are now entering Phase 2 of our discussions where we will look at a much broader range of topics and take it to CECA,” Mr. Goyal told reporters at a joint press conference. .

Both ministers expressed their “disappointment” to the trade negotiators, who “will be much more ambitious and aim for $100 billion in trade between the two economies,” he said.

Farrell said the two countries “can achieve” that goal.

On the deadline for completing the CECA negotiations, Mr Goyal said anything done on a deadline was always “risky” because “you can make mistakes” but “we” have to do things quickly.

According to him, both trade ministers are ready to speed up negotiations.

Both Prime Ministers have “directed us to work together to close the CECA negotiations within this calendar year. We want to do that. We are trying to work in the same spirit as ECTA and hope for quick results without compromising its quality,” Mr. Goyal added.

He also said he was “very disappointed” with bilateral trade at $30 billion and that officials in India and Australia had set a target of $45-50 billion over the next five years.

Piyush Goyal said there are huge opportunities for increased cooperation in areas such as education, technology, audio-visual services and sports.

While Australia has some “excellent” technology, top educational institutes and sports, India can offer in terms of its talent pool, manufacturing base and startup ecosystem, he said.

On increasing agri-trade with Australia, India’s commerce minister said there are several areas under consideration by the agriculture ministries of both sides to address sanitary and phytosanitary (plant and animal) issues.

Following the first India-Australia summit on a range of key issues here on March 10, Albanese said both countries are committed to cementing the ambitious CECA by 2023, while in a joint statement the two prime ministers asked concerned officials to finalize the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement (MPA) within the next three months. MMPA) to accelerate the formation.

Mr. Goyal praised Australia for taking care of Indian sensitivities in agriculture and dairy sectors involving small and marginal farmers.

“We are looking at ‘win-win’ opportunities in many areas that open up a lot of potential, such as space technology, Australian education systems and essential minerals, an Australian-developed energy storage system and sports… about each other’s relative competitive advantages to add to trade,” he added. .

Farrell said Australia has all the essential minerals to make batteries for electric vehicles.

He also said that in the first month of ECTA, Australia shipped $2.5 billion worth of goods to India.

Farrell added that the Australian wine industry could come to India and support the sector here in terms of sharing knowledge and quality.

“I hope that in the coming months we will be able to send our teams from India from the wine sector and invite teams from Australia to come and form alliances with mutual cooperation,” Mr Goyal said.

Piyush Goyal said that since India has a long coastline, it can learn different types of water sports from Australia.

Asked whether Australia wanted to include gender and sustainability issues in CECA, Farrell said the country would consider those issues as part of CECA.

Mr. Goyal said that India is open to negotiations and seeks to engage with the rest of the world on a position of strength and learn from best practices.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published on a syndicated channel.)

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