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’India, Australia need to make adjustments for FTA’

Times of India, India

’India, Australia need to make adjustments for FTA’

15 October 2008


CANBERRA: Both India and Australia will have to make "adjustments" for reaching at a market-opening Free Trade Agreement, a senior Australian official said on Wednesday.

"Trade liberalisation brings in more benefits to all. Some adjustments have to be made for a successful FTA," the Director of Australia-India FTA Study, Michael Wood, said.

India and Australia have initiated a feasibility study to ascertain whether an FTA would be beneficial for boosting the bilateral trade. The joint group undertaking the study is likely to finalise its report by the end of this year.

Wood said an FTA can add further dimensions to trade opportunities and both countries can benefit from it. Tariff reduction can help India to import life-saving equipment that would help millions of Indians to have access to latest medical facilities.

When asked if the minerals should be allowed to be exported from the country, he said it would be commercially beneficial for India to open its mining sector. "However, every country should act in their own best interests."

Australia also wants India to open its financial services sector to create opportunities in both banking and insurance. "Credential of Australian banking system has been established and we are globally the fourth largest managers of funds. Currently, Australia Insurance Group is in talks with the State Bank of India for tie-up in insurance business.

On agricultural sector, Wood said India has nothing to fear as Australia would be looking at niche segments like processed food segment, that will complement rather than replace the existing products in the country.