India and Australia are set to engage in negotiations on free trade after a feasibility study showed each side stood to gain A$30 billion over 20 years from lowering barriers.
Australian trade minister, Craig Emerson said preliminary talks on a deal with India would kick off next week, when his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma visits Canberra.
The minister spoke highly of Indian government's formal agreement to start negotiations on a free-trade agreement as a milestone in diplomatic relations.
"India is an enormous, rapidly expanding market for Australian businesses," he said.
"Such a deal would broaden the base of merchandise trade, remove barriers to services trade, facilitate and encourage investment and address behind-the-border obstacles to trade."
While a free-trade agreement for elimination of tariffs would be bilateral, the minister stressed the importance of achieving trade liberalisation with India through multilateral forums.
Meanwhile, India has decided against diluting its stand or taking a position on intellectual property rights, especially regarding pharmaceuticals, beyond its domestic law and the current international commitments.