In an effort to expedite negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India, Tim Ayres, Australia’s assistant trade minister, is presently undertaking a visit to India. His primary objective is to evaluate the advancement of the agreement and ultimately finalise the deal by the conclusion of this year.
Ayres is scheduled to partake in the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers’ assembly, scheduled to commence on the 23rd of August in Jaipur. Subsequently, in the following week, he will assume a significant role in the B20 Business Summit taking place in New Delhi.
In a statement provided on Wednesday, Ayres mentioned, “I will also use this visit to discuss progress on our Free Trade Agreement with India, the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), which we are looking to conclude this year.”
He underlined that the successful realisation of this ambitious accord would empower both Australia and India to fully tap into the immense potential of their bilateral economic partnership.
India and Australia sealed the Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement in April 2022, officially taking effect on the 29th of December 2022. Following the implementation of this agreement, Australia’s trade deficit with India has seen a 15% reduction due to heightened exports of pharmaceuticals, electrical machinery, as well as iron and steel products.
During the span of five months leading up to May, India’s exports to Australia experienced a notable decline of more than 32% in comparison to the same period in the previous year. Meanwhile, imports from Australia also contracted by 25%, resulting in a diminished trade discrepancy of $3.87 billion. This marks a 15% decrease from the preceding year, as indicated by official records.
Upon excluding the energy category which comprises items like oil and coal from the trade data, India’s exports encountered a 3.3% upturn in this period. Simultaneously, imports registered a significant plunge of 31%. Consequently, the trade deficit lessened to $3.27 billion, displaying a substantial 41% decline from the previous year.
In a statement, Tim Ayres expressed his anticipation for the forthcoming interaction with his G20 counterparts. He emphasised the intention to deliberate strategies to invigorate global trade and investments, fostering job creation and tackling the sluggish pace of worldwide economic growth.
Ayres highlighted his advocacy for Australia’s trade pursuits, including reinforcing G20’s backing for a robust rules-oriented multilateral trade system, with the World Trade Organisation occupying a central role.
He also affirmed Australia’s commitment to closely collaborate with India in support of its G20 presidency.
As part of his visit, Ayres will also engage in discussions with European counterparts, focusing on advancements in the negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the European Union.