In a move to take their growing economic ties forward, Australia and India are about to conclude a feasibility study to establish a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in a wide range of areas, according to an Australian official.
The feasibility study for the FTA, which kicked off early last year is about to be completed a group of visiting journalists from Indian was told.
India is Australia's fifth largest market accounting for $19 billion worth of Australian exports with coking coal exports alone contributing $5 billion a year.
The FTA will cover a wider range of areas given Australia's vast natural resources.
The deal with Australia comes close on the heels of similar deals with South Korea and the ASEAN.
Though efforts to secure a comprehensive free trade agreement between nations have been infructuous and the Doha Round of WTO talks has stalled, bilateral agreements have emerged as the new vehicle for world trade. The past few years have seen major economies scramble to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with negotiations at their peak this summer.
However, negotiations between EU and Asean that started in May 2007 have broken down over Burssels' censure of human rights violations in Myanmar, a member of the 10 nation Asean.
Negotiations with South Korea have fared better but a final deal still remains elusive after two-year-long talks the EU conducted with the country.
A draft accord failed to satisfy the parties in July and the final decision was put off. Talks could be held next in September on the deal that was slated to be signed in March this year.