Does Australia Have A Free Trade Agreement With India

In his meeting with Goyal, Australia`s trade minister said that his country, India, wanted him to resume negotiations on the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP), that he was ready to consider India`s proposal for a bilateral pact. The Eurasian Economic Union, composed of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, has concluded free trade agreements, see below. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other heads of state and government participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) belatedly announced yesterday that 15 of the 16 countries had finalized the text and were ready to sign the trade agreement in early 2020. India has already concluded several free trade agreements – including the subcontinent countries, some ASEAN countries and Korea – and, more importantly, hopes to conclude a free trade agreement with the 27 countries that make up the European Union by December 2010. Trade between India and Australia has increased sharply over the past decade, but is strongly skewed in Australia`s favour. In 2018-19, India`s imports from the island nation were estimated at $13.3 billion, while Australia`s imports from India amounted to only $3.52 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of nearly $10 billion. After Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham`s visit to New Delhi last month, when he discussed the benefits of such a pact with his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal, India is exploring viable elements of a possible free trade agreement with Australia. Moreover, a deep suspicion of trade is an intrinsic feature of the nationalist nationalism advocated by the BJP. The party`s ideological fountain, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), sees trade liberalization as a threat to Indian identity, and its economic understanding remains linked to Swadeshi`s idea of self-sufficiency by prioritizing indigenous products made exclusively from Indian production lines. The organization`s economic wing recently protested for ten days against India`s participation in the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade framework being negotiated between the ten ASEAN countries and Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. India`s concerns remain an obstacle to reaching an agreement for all the countries concerned (the talks are expected to resume on 1 November). agreements negotiated and signed by the respective heads of state of each country, but which have not yet been ratified by the country`s legislative body.

India is an awakening giant with a population of more than 1.2 billion, which includes an emerging middle class of about 250 million people. India has already taken appropriate steps to significantly reduce import duties and open its markets to its regional trading partners. It is time for Australia to strengthen its relations with India and fully exploit this huge market. Given the favourable entry prices for Australian goods and services in the Chinese and Indian markets, Australia would be in a strong position to maintain a fair balance of payments, and I think our negotiators should focus on establishing free trade agreements with China and India.

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