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‘Negotiators working overtime to seal India-Australia FTA’

The Hindu, India

‘Negotiators working overtime to seal India-Australia FTA’

Our Bureau

4 June 2015

Kolkata/Indian and Australian negotiators were working overtime for the proposed free trade agreement, Australian High Commissioner to India Patrick Michael Suckling said here on Thursday.

After an event at the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, Suckling said that two major rounds of negotiations have already taken place so far this year. “The third round is slated for July. However, negotiators remained engaged between the major rounds – almost on a weekly basis,” the diplomat said.

Though negotiations have been on for some years, now both the Governments are planning to wrap up the agreement by the end of this year.

In the eastern hemisphere, Australia has concluded FTAs with China and Japan. For Australia, the proposed FTA with India will help advance its trading influence among top Asian economies. India has FTAs with Japan and South East Asian nations. An FTA with Australia would lead to extension of bilateral ties to the most resource-rich part of the region.

The Australian Envoy said that he met the West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra here during his visit and discussed possible cooperation in mutually exclusive interest areas such as mining, deep sea fishing, food processing and agriculture.