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Free trade pact off Australia PM Turnbull’s agenda

The Hindu | 6 April 2017

Free trade pact off Australia PM Turnbull’s agenda

by Suhasini Haidar

India and Australia will not sign the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement during the visit of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that begins on Sunday, officials on both sides confirmed on Thursday. They, however, said the negotiations on the free trade pact would continue.

During his four-day visit, Mr. Turnbull is expected to focus on trade, investment and education opportunities.

He is likely to reaffirm his government’s support to the decision taken by the previous Australian government on civil nuclear cooperation and selling uranium to India.

Mr. Turnbull and Prime Minister Narendra Modi formalised the decision during their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Turkey in 2015.

Diplomatic sources said they expected a shipment of the nuclear fuel from Australia to arrive on Indian shores “later this year”.

The two sides will sign some agreements in the field of security and energy cooperation.

‘Ties expanded’

“Our relationship has expanded dramatically since we established a strategic partnership in 2009, followed by two-way Prime Ministerial visits in 2014. We are taking forward an active and ambitious agenda,” Australian High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu said in a press release announcing the Turnbull visit.

However, the CECA, which they have pursued since 2011 and completed nine rounds on up till September 2015, is firmly off the list. Officials refused to comment on when it was likely to be done, saying only that talks remained “complex” at the moment.

 source: The Hindu