India, Australia vow to take bilateral trade to USD 100 billion

| Updated: 12 March, 2023 6:07 pm IST
Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Don Farrell speaking at a joint press conference in New Delhi on Saturday.

India and Australia have set the goal of taking the bilateral trade to USD 100 billion from USD 31 billion per year and concluding negotiations for the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) by end of this year.

During the meeting of the India-Australia joint ministerial commission meeting in New Delhi on Saturday, Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Don Farrell expressed “unhappiness towards the trade agreement negotiations.

India and Australia have committed to concluding the negotiations for expanding the scope of the existing free trade agreement by the end of 2023, the ministers said in a joint statement.

“India-Australia bilateral trade exceeded USD 31 billion last financial year. Both ministers agreed that given the trade complementarities between the two countries, there is considerable potential for significantly enhancing bilateral trade within the next 5 years,” said the statement released after the 18th JMC meeting.

During the meeting, minister Goyal and Farrell discussed the implementation of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), negotiations for the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and further development of the two-way investment. They also discussed engagement in the G20, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Addressing a joint press conference, minister Farrell said that the two countries “can achieve” the target of USD 100 billion in bilateral trade.

The ministers also noted that PMs Narendra Modi and Anthony Albanese look forward to swift progress in negotiations and for an early conclusion of an ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), which will build on the foundation laid by the ECTA, including new areas of trade, investment and cooperation.

“CECA will create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and improve the general welfare in both countries. Ministers look forward to concluding CECA as soon as possible, are pleased with the progress resolving various bilateral technical market access issues and look forward to continuing engagement,” said the joint statement.

The ministers noted the complementary nature of Australia and India’s economies and committed to further enhancing economic, technology, and trade and investment cooperation to get to net zero emissions.

Minister Farrell reiterated Australia’s strong support for India’s G20 presidency. “Ministers agreed that the G20 needs to help the world navigate a pathway back to strong, sustainable and inclusive growth, including accelerating progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

They reaffirmed the importance of the multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core. They also agreed to build on the success of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva and reaffirmed their commitment towards improving WTO functions and having a fully functioning dispute settlement system by 2024. They agreed to work towards a productive engagement in the run-up to the 13th WTO ministerial conference to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2024.

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