Business Standard - 1 November 2022
India, Australia discuss early closure of trade deal signed 7 months ago
By Shreya Nandi
The free trade agreement that was signed by India and Australia earlier this year is expected to be implemented soon, an official statement released by the commerce and industry ministry said.
While both nations had signed an interim free trade deal—Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) in April, the ratification of the deal in the Australias Parliament remains pending amid the procedural delays caused by the formation of a new government in Australia.
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and Don Farrell, Minister of Trade and Tourism of Australia on Tuesday virtually discussed the trade pact–IndAus ECTA—that was signed seven months ago. The ministers noted that an early implementation of the trade pact is in the best interest of both the countries.
During the meeting, Farrell informed that the IndAus ECTA as well as the amendments to the domestic regulation of Australia for resolving the issues related to Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) had been introduced in the Australia Parliament.
The trade agreement is likely to be ratified ‘shortly’ after a joint standing committee on the treaty submits its report to the Australian Parliament. He also said that the processes related to the ratification of the agreement will be completed in the following weeks.
The Parliament session after the formation of the new government in Australia started in July. The deal can be ratified after they get an approval from the Parliamentary committee.
Both nations also agreed to hold the annual Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) meeting sometime early next year. In the meantime, experts from both sides will have their first round of discussions, which will lay a roadmap for the JMC meeting.
“Delegations noted that both nations share a special partnership based on mutual values of pluralistic parliamentary democracies, expanding economic strategic engagement and long-standing people to people ties. Meeting concluded with both the parties acknowledging the need to redefine their economic relations exploring the opportunities offered in trade and investment,” an official statement said.
Under the interim trade deal, Canberaa will provide duty-free access in its market for over 6,000 sectors of India and help in taking bilateral trade to $50 billion in next five years. The deal will also offer relief to Indian IT companies operating in Australia, as Canberra has agreed to amend its domestic laws to stop taxing offshore income of such companies, as part of ECTA.