Have suggestions for ‘Australia-India Free Trade Agreement’ tell DFAT to make them count

These can be confidential as well as public as DFAT may publish the suggestions on its website if you want otherwise can be handled in confidence.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is inviting submissions from interested individuals, businesses, and other interested stakeholders on the potential opportunities and impacts of an Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), or Free Trade Agreement. 

“We welcome renewed submissions from interested parties that provided submissions for earlier CECA negotiations, or provided related submissions during the negotiations for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).”

As per the DFAT website, these submissions can address interests in a possible interim agreement which will pave the way for a full CECA.

“Individuals, organisations and groups that make submissions will be registered as stakeholders by the Department for further consultation and follow up as appropriate.”

In 2020, Australia and India trade exceeded $24 billion thus making India Australia’s 7th largest trading partner.

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PM Scott Morrison and Indian PM Narendra Modi in Chat: Picture Source: @PIB
PM Scott Morrison and Indian PM Narendra Modi in Chat: Picture Source: @PIB

Australian and Indian stakeholders are invited to consider and comment on the commercial, economic, regional, and other impacts that could be expected to arise from a future interim agreement, as well as from a full CECA.

“In your submission, you may wish to focus on specific market access challenges and other issues of importance in doing business with India. Especially helpful would be information on tariff and non-tariff barriers to goods trade, barriers and other issues affecting services trade, and barriers to investment.”

Due to COVID-19 and its impact worldwide, circumstances have changed since earlier rounds of talks.

DFAT says that stakeholders may wish to update or re-submit their earlier submissions and hence they have re-opened the submissions for the following issues:

  • goods market access (tariffs and quotas)
  • rule of origin (including associated procedures)
  • non-tariff barriers to trade in goods (including technical barriers and customs issues)
  • cross-border trade in services
  • financial services
  • investment, including investor-state dispute settlement
  • government procurement
  • intellectual property, including geographical indications
  • barriers to trade in emerging and innovative industries e.g, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, IT incubators
  • movement of persons
  • competition policy
  • sustainable development

The information provided through these submissions will assist the Australian Government in determining the nation’s key priorities for CECA.

In addition, it will also lead to a possible interim agreement as a pathway to a full CECA.

These submissions may take several forms — from a short email to a more comprehensive analytical paper.

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These can be confidential as well as public as DFAT may publish the suggestions on its website unless the author specifically requests that the submission, or part thereof, be handled in confidence.

If you are interested in making a submission, kindly lodge one via email: indiafta@dfat.gov.au

To see Australia-India FTA submissions from earlier negotiations, see https://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/negotiations/aifta/submissions/australia-india-fta-submissions/australia-india-fta-submissions-earlier-negotiations.