India, Australia look to deepen economic ties

06 May 2024

India, Australia look to deepen economic ties

An India-Australia Joint Committee Meeting (JCM), held in Canberra as well as meetings with businesses in Sydney and Melbourne have emphasised the need to work closely, especially in collaborative projects, in order to bring new synergy to the strategic partnership of the two countries. 

Accordingly, the two sides have agreed to resolve market access issues in order to facilitate trade and promote investment, besides creating an institutional framework for sharing data on preferential trade. It was also resolved to find innovative ways for achieving successful conclusion of their CCEA negotiations.

The Indian delegation led by commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal and  Australian negotiators led by deputy secretary of foreign affairs and trade, George Mina, held discussions on various issues related to trade and investment related issues.

The first Joint Committee Meeting under India-Australia Economic Co-operation and Trade Agreement (Ind-Aus ECTA) took note of the ECTA implementation issues, especially those related to MRAs on organic products, market access issues related to products like okra, pomegranate, grapes, cottage cheese, macadamia nuts, lentils and avocado etc

Although the adoption of the CETA been smooth, the administration of TRQ on low tariff products as well as pharmaceutical pricing control in Australia particularly on Generics, as also regulatory challenges in the case of products such as whisky and wine have retarded  progress.

The JCM agreed to await the outcomes of the ECTA sub-committee meetings and emphasized the need for their regular meetings for timely resolution, areas of mutual interest, including coastal tourism, critical mineral and collaboration for establishing disease-free zones for shrimps and prawns in India. 

The JCM also briefly deliberated on integrated approach to be adopted at the forthcoming CEO forum event for promoting investments, especially in the case of start-ups.

The meeting also addressed India’s request for facilitation of cross border e-payments and mutual recognition agreements in professions like nursing and dentistry. The JCM also reiterated the commitment to remove the ENT/LMT requirement in line with the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement, so as to facilitate the movement of healthcare workers between the two nations as well as promoting tele-medicines.

Australia is an important trade partner of India with $24 billion in bilateral merchandise trade in 2023-24, and offering significant potential for further growth. 

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