Dan Tehan, the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment, will be in India next week to further advance work on a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Mr Tehan called India as “another partner with a mutual interest in an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific” in his address at the National Press Club ahead of his trip to Indonesia and India in the coming week.
Mr Tehan said, “Two years from now, India, the world’s biggest democracy, is on track to become the world’s most populous nation. Backed by one million Indians turning 18 every month, rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, and a drive for technological innovation and digitisation, India’s economic story offers enormous promise.”
“We all have a stake in India’s success.”, he added.
He said that the Indian government had begun promoting a free trade narrative and was seeking closer economic ties with like-minded nations, including Australia.
“For Australia there are significant growth opportunities in critical minerals, infrastructure, energy, technology, agriculture, education and space – and it is these sectors we will place particular emphasis on in the Government’s soon-to-be-released update to Peter Varghese’s India Economic Strategy.”, Mr Tehan said.
In India, Mr Tehan will seek to further advance Australia’s recent progress towards a free trade agreement, called the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.
“Both countries are committed to achieving an early harvest announcement on an interim agreement to liberalise and deepen bilateral trade in goods and services, and pave the way for an early conclusion of a full CECA.’, according to Mr Tehan.
Mr Tehan said that the Indian Trade Minister, Piyush Goyal and himself were seeking to make progress towards an interim deadline. He believes that although it is an ambitious approach, and his meeting with Mr Goyal will be crucial, it is one that can be achieved if both sides are seeking a truly complementary agreement.
“We are working towards an agreement that aligns with our principles and encourages expanded trade and investment flows to the benefit of the economies and peoples of both countries.”