INDIA-AUSTRALIA TAILORING THE FTA FUNDAMENTALS

Last Month, Australian trade minister, Simon Birmingham visited India, as the free trade agreement is on the fronts, with both the countries trying to work for the best of both worlds. Indian Minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart discussed the ins and outs of the agreement. As Australia agrees on India’s redline, .i.e. diary and certain agricultural products, it is easier for India to further negotiate. There will be video meetings held between two counterparts to pull off the discussions for FTA, which is formally known as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

Australia wants India to re-enter Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in exchange for India’s bilateral pact. India, however, has exited RCEP, 16 member bloc, due to lack of protection on China’s cheap imports and also because of major access to market given to other members. The bilateral pact between India and Australia has grown in decades, but Australian’s have been on a profitable side. As India imports three times more than Australia, Birmingham blamed it on the coal imports by India. The deal has been in talks since 2011, which later suspended in 2015 due to disagreements over Australia asking for agricultural and dairy access in Indian Markets. The flexibility in the Australian approach towards agriculture, dairy, and easy visa rules for workers can make free trade pact work and turned into a success.