FTA will boost trade with India: Australian Minister

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on April 23, 2015

Minister of Trade and Infrastructure of Australia, Andrew Robb

India-Australia trade is around $15 billion now

Australia's bilateral trade with India is less than a tenth of its trade with China and has the potential of increasing fast once the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated is in place, Australian trade minister Andrew Robb has said.

"Two-way trade between India and Australia is around $15 billion, while China-Australia trade is at $160 billion. There is no reason why there should be such a big difference as most characters defining India and China are similar," Robb said speaking at the Global Exhibition on Services jointly organised by the Commerce Ministry and industry body CII.

India-Australia trade in 2013-14 was just $12 billion, with the balance heavily in favour of Australia that shipped goods worth $9 billion.

Robb said that both Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were keen to conclude the FTA, formally known as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, by the end of 2015. "That is what we are in the middle of," he said.

There was a huge potential for both countries to gain by collaborating in services sectors such as education, health, financial services and tourism, the Minister said.

With Australia signing a FTA with China last year, under which tariffs on 93 per cent of traded items will be eliminated or brought down to very low levels over the next few years, the competition is set to intensify for India in the Australian market.

India and Australia began talks on a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) on 2011 which aims to liberalise access to markets in goods and services and ease investment rules.

Published on April 23, 2015
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