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India - Australia To Deepen Cooperation Focusing Digital Trade, MSMEs & Sports

Updated: Nov 21, 2023 05:02:25pm

India - Australia To Deepen Cooperation Focusing Digital Trade, MSMEs & Sports

New Delhi, Nov 21 (KNN) India and Australia are now working towards expanding their bilateral relations following the successful conclusion of a preliminary Free Trade Agreement (FTA) last year.

As per media report the seventh round of talks concluded on October 20, with both countries agreeing to pursue negotiations on five tracks and 14 new areas. These areas include digital trade, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), traditional knowledge, labour, and sports.

The negotiations aim to build on the momentum gained from the preliminary FTA, focusing on comprehensive areas of cooperation. The discussions cover diverse sectors such as digital trade, government procurement, MSMEs, traditional knowledge, sports, gender, environment, innovations, space, labour, and competition policy.

The officials involved in the discussions have emphasized the importance of identifying common interests to take the negotiations forward.

While formal talks on tracks such as remaining goods, services, digital trade, government procurement, and product-specific rules of origin (ROO-PSRs) have progressed rapidly, both countries are working towards convergence on areas of mutual interest.

According to official data from the commerce ministry, India's exports to Australia experienced a notable 17 per cent increase to USD 4.9 billion in the first six months of 2023-24 (April-September), while imports decreased by 24.6 per cent to USD 8.3 billion.

Key Indian exports to Australia include petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel products, electrical machinery, and garments. Imports from Australia consist primarily of coal, gold, iron ore, pulses, and minerals, serving as raw materials for domestic industries.

India and Australia previously operationalized the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) in December of the preceding year.

Following this, the two nations expressed a commitment to pursuing a more comprehensive agreement, known as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). Talks on expanding the scope of ECTA have been ongoing since February, with the goal of concluding CECA by the end of the current year.

(KNN Bureau)


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