Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan is visiting India to advance negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) aimed at promoting economic ties between the countries, according to an official statement released by Canberra on Wednesday.
Tehan will hold a meeting with his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal to further the ongoing negotiations on the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), it said.
"Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan will travel to India today to advance negotiations on a free trade agreement and promote Australia as a premium destination for students and tourists," the statement said.
The two sides have agreed to conclude a long-pending FTA, officially dubbed as CECA, by the end of 2022.
Goyal and I have been in regular contact over the Christmas/New Year period because we are both committed to concluding an interim free trade agreement, Tehan was quoted in the statement.
The statement said that the trade pact is a potential game-changer in opening opportunities for both Australia and India and also an important piece of post-Covid economic recovery.
A free trade agreement with India would be a boon for Australian businesses, farmers and workers, creating new jobs and opportunities with one of the world's largest and fastest developing economies, Tehan said.
Tehan will also sign a memorandum of understanding on behalf of the Australian government with the Indian government to promote further travel and tourism between the countries.
The bilateral trade between the nations stood at USD 12.3 billion in 2020-21 as against USD 12.63 billion in 2019-20. Trade gap is in the favour of Australia.
India's main exports to Australia are refined petroleum, medicaments, railway vehicles including hover-trains, pearls and gems, jewellery, made up textile articles, while major imports are coal, copper ores and concentrates, gold, vegetables, wool and other animal hair, fruits and nuts, lentils and education related services.
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