FTA negotiations with India complicated: Australia

Business Standard | 7 September 2016

FTA negotiations with India complicated: Australia

Describing the ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with India as "complicated", Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo today indicated that the deal was now not a top priority for his government in the short term.

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"On India, this is a complicated negotiation. Although the original aspiration was to knock it over in 12 months, that hasn’t been possible," Ciobo told a TV channel here.

"We’re now in the process of undertaking a stocktake about where negotiations are at," he said adding that "so I’ll keep pursuing India, but that’s not our key priority."

The minister said that the key priority in the short term for the Australian government was to sign a FTA deal with Indonesia and inthis term was to focus on what Australiacan do with Indonesia.

Ciobo’s comments came twodays after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China.

The talks for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) or FTA between the two sides started in 2011 in a bid toboost bilateral trade and investment.

Both sides were expecting to conclude negotiations by December 2015, however,there were differences in areas like duty cut on dairy products and wines.

Several rounds of negotiations have been completed for liberalising trade and services regime, besides removing non-tariff barriers and encouraging investments.