Australia’s Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator Don Farrell, is confident that the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Australia will be in place by the third quarter of this year.

“We have been asking that we finalise that by the third quarter of this year. I am confident with the timeline; I believe there is will on both sides,” Farrell told businessline in an exclusive interview.

While the two countries have already signed the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), the CECA will take the trade relationship to the next level. “Already we are seeing the first evidence of the free trade agreement coming into force, with the two consecutive reductions in tariffs. In January, $2.5 billion in trade from Australia came into India under lower tariffs. Now, I think certainly from our point of view, this gives us great opportunities to expand our relationship,” Farrell said.

Read more: India is key to Australia’s trade diversification policy: Don Farrell

Dairy imports

When asked how he will overcome India’s concerns over allowing the free import of Australian dairy products under CECA, he said, “Each side has red lines that make it difficult to reach an agreement. Those red lines existed in previous agreements, and we were able to find a way through them. With a bit of respect on both sides and a bit of understanding, we can get there and work through those problems.”

Separately, the PM of Australia, Anthony Albanese, while speaking at India-Australia CEO forum held in Mumbai, said that ECTA signed between India and Australia is a transformative agreement that will unlock the next level of potential in trade and investment