India and Australia trade deal likely to include lower tariffs, greater market access: Piyush Goyal
New Delhi, Feb 12 (KNN) India and Australia have been fair about understanding the sensitive sectors in respective nations, indicating that the interim trade deal is likely to steer away from making such areas a part of the agreement.
The interim trade deal, or the early harvest agreement, is expected to be finalized over the next 30 days. A December 25 deadline had been set earlier, but the deal could not be finalized as both countries were not able to iron out disagreements over market access issues.
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said both countries have had fruitful discussions, made significant progress, with respect to the early harvest agreement, which will be followed by a full-fledged trade deal.
The proposed deal is likely to include lower tariffs and greater market access for Indian exporters in areas such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, footwear, leather, Goyal had said.
India has been reluctant to include sensitive sectors such as dairy and some agricultural products from the early harvest agreement. Similarly, services exports is a sensitive area as far as Australia is concerned.
“Discussion took place with a great deal of openness, plenty of concerns for sensitivities on both sides to specific areas where Australia may have sensitivities, India may have sensitivities, we have accommodated each other, respected each other’s sensitivities,” Goyal told reporters after meeting his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan.
Tehan is visiting Delhi to advance negotiations with respect to the trade deal.
Both ministers renewed a pact on tourism cooperation. “My understanding is that Australia and India are not only natural partners in terms of a strong bond between our governments but we complement each other in trading, goods services in a variety of ways,” Goyal told reporters here.
Tehan said the agreement between both countries will be modern and will go beyond the traditional goods and services.
Goyal said India is having very good discussions regarding a trade deal with the UAE, which is at an advanced stage. “We hope to make some announcement soon,” he said.
After a successful round of discussions with the UK last month, another round of talks will happen next month, after which both nations hope to finalize an interim agreement by June.
Discussions with Canada for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement are also progressing.
Canadian minister will visit India in March and we may engage with her for an interim agreement, Goyal said, adding that India is also in discussion with Israel and the European Union.
With reference to India’s exit from the China-backed Asian trade bloc RCEP, and Australia’s decision to join the agreement, Tehan said be it RCEP or any other regional agreements, Australia believes strongly that there should be set rules for trade and followed in spirit. (KNN Bureau)