India, Australia agree to forge ahead with FTA
07 May 2010
Australia and India are pushing ahead with negotiations on a free trade agreement, with a recent poll indicating that 47 per cent of Australians favour such an agreement. A feasibility study by the two sides has revealed the agreement could boost Australia's GDP by A$45 billion in the next 20 years.
Australian trade minister Simon Crean, who is currently on a visit to India, has indicated to journalists that the negotiations for a deal would start soon. Crean also said in an interview with the Financial Times during his visit to Mumbai that the deal would be "comprehensive", meaning both sides would agree to open their sensitive agriculture markets as well as goods and services and investment.
"This has been a very underdone relationship for us," Crean said of trade with India.
He also said he expected uranium exports to India to be an issue that would form a part of discussions. However, Crean said uranium would not stand in the way of a trade deal.
"Uranium is not the stumbling block in terms of an FTA," he said.
"Having an energy chapter in the FTA might facilitate something of a dialogue in that direction. It's another way for them to address the question if they want to do it," Crean added.