27 September 2021 23:25

India exploring trade deals with Australia on ‘give and take basis’

If India is to be kept engaged in these negotiations tariff reductions will need to be worked out as well. Reduced tariffs on rare earth and minerals, which are much needed for India's next-generation products and programmes.

India is likely to finalise many mini trade deals with Australia.

This was revealed by India’s Trade Minister Piyush Goyal while addressing the export promotion councils in Mumbai.

Mr Goyal said:

“I am delighted to announce today Australia has kind of agreed to do an early harvest agreement with India. They had sent a special trade envoy, former prime minister Tony Abbott with whom we had extensive discussions.”

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Mr Goyal also urged all Indian businesses to assess the key areas to work with Australia on a give and take basis.

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Image source: Piyush Goyal – Wikipedia.

“I URGE ALL OF YOU TO QUICKLY ASSESS WHICH ARE THE AREAS WHERE WE CAN FINALISE THE EARLY HARVEST WITH AUSTRALIA, WHAT ARE THE AREAS OF YOUR INTEREST, WHAT ARE THE AREAS WHERE YOU CAN LET GO A LITTLE BIT, AND ON A GIVE AND TAKE BASIS, WE CAN THEN CLOSE THE AUSTRALIAN ENGAGEMENT. ONE EARLY HARVEST WITH A LARGE COUNTRY LIKE AUSTRALIA FROM THE DEVELOPED WORLD, WILL HELP US TO ENGAGE WITH OTHERS, ON SIMILAR LINES.”

Australia and India have been negotiating for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

India is hopeful that a clearer engagement with Australia will give it the strong footing to deal with countries such as the USA, Canada and Israel.

Jim Varghese is National Chair of Australia India Business Council.

In the virtual edition of this years Australia India Business Council Annual Australia India Address he said:

“The comprehensive strategic partnership signed by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has far-reaching implications for this relationship.”

Mr Varghese added:

“With the renewed commitment of both governments to work more closely will track up the bilateral relationship to its next level.”

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Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott last month travelled to India as a special envoy of the Australian government to ignite the process.

Speaking at the Annual Australia India Address, He said his recent visit to India was aimed at progressing Australia’s significant bilateral economic and trade relationship under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“Most of India’s exports to Australia come in, without tariffs or quotas, and those that do attract a quota. It’s a comparatively small 5%. Most of Australia’s exports to India, on the other hand, are subject to tariffs and quotas. Our wide exports face an extraordinary 150% tariff.”

Mr Abbott added:

“What we should be hoping for, before the end of the year, at the very least, is an early harvest agreement on the principal goods that pass between our two countries, there are 100 tariff lines that constitute about 98% by value of our two-way trade.”

Sydney based Harsh Shah is India Services Group Leader at Deloitte.

He says with the prominence of the growing middle class with rising incomes and the global reorientation, it is very easy to see why consumption is going to dominate trade in India, it is no longer a viable excuse for Australian businesses to put India in the too hard basket.

“When we think about the skies, we think about launching satellites together, sharing of data. All of these present tremendous opportunities for both countries.”

Mr Shah adds:

“It is not going to be easy, but with the focus on the Five Eyes and the QUAD relationship, India and Australia have a real opportunity to re-establish the global defence and strategic ties.”

Manpreet Vohra, High Commissioner of India to Australia acknowledges the re-engagements of CECA and FTA, which highlights Indian and Australia’s shared challenges, opportunities and objectives. Confirming it is time to take the trade and economic relations to a much higher trajectory.

“I think, it should be very exciting news for Australian business. They must appreciate that India today is actually an easy and welcoming place for business, and one of the most attractive destinations for foreign direct investment.”

Sheba Nandkeolyar, former AIBC National Chair agrees and acknowledges the long-standing commitment to the Australia India bilateral relationship.

She says with an open and globalised market of 1.3 billion people, India offers Australian businesses excellent opportunities for investment, export and manufacturing.

Anil Wadhwa, former Indian Ambassador has a clear view about continuing to work towards the comprehensive agreement between Australia and India.

He says If India is to be kept engaged in these negotiations as we go forward, and the option of phasing out, tariff reductions will need to be worked out as well. Reduced tariffs on rare earth and minerals, which are much needed for India’s next-generation products and programmes.


“Australia could also be accommodative in selected services areas, like financial and cyber security technologies, cloud computing, labour-intensive services for its remote areas, or a limited FDA would cover critical minerals and technologies, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.”

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