Australia and India have set a 30-day deadline to finalise the early harvest agreement (EHA) before finalising a full-fledged free trade agreement between the two nations, according to commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal. Education will be at the forefront of negotiations, according to both Goyal and Dan Tehan. “We want to look at mutual educational qualification recognition between Australia and India. If we can accomplish that, with Australian students coming to India to study, their parents would want to come see them,” Tehan added. He also noted that tourism will benefit as a result.
India and Australia had set a tight deadline of December 25 to conclude an early harvest agreement — a predecessor to a free trade agreement (FTA) or Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in this case — because there was still work to be done. According to sources, the ministerial conference was critical because both countries had yet to agree on their respective demand lists. On Friday, the two countries will sign a tourist agreement to strengthen collaboration and stimulate the expansion of bilateral relations. In addition, India’s finance minister and treasurer are working hard to resolve a pending issue with investment, which would be addressed in the bilateral agreement.
In FY21, Australia ranked as India’s 15th largest trading partner. Petroleum products, medications, polished diamonds, gold jewellery, and apparels are among the most important commodities exported to Australia, whereas coal, alumina, and non-monetary gold are among the most important items exported to India. In terms of services, India’s top exports are travel, telecom and computer, government, and financial services, while Australia’s top exports are education and personal travel. “It’ll be one of the quickest free trade deals that India or Australia has ever negotiated with significant economies,” Goyal added. Australia is looking at significant prospects in industries such as mining, pharmaceuticals, education, renewable energy, and textiles. “I can guarantee you that we are in the process of forming a very solid collaboration, which we will finalise in the next 30 days. That’s the kind of aggressive timelines our teams are working under right now.”
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)