India and Australia today agreed on a high quality and balanced free trade agreement between the two nations, the commerce ministry said.
The negotiation for the pact, officially dubbed as Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Australia, was started in 2011 to provide fillip to trade and investments between the countries.
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, who is in Australia, met Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo in Canberra and discussed ways to further promote economic ties.
“The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to a high quality and balanced CECA between the two countries,” the ministry said.
Several rounds of negotiations have been completed for liberalising trade and services regime, besides removing non-tariff barriers and encouraging investments. But, both the sides have yet to resolve issues pertaining to goods and services.
Further, both the ministers discussed the importance of Australian and Indian businesses engaging directly to identify practical solutions and communicating them to the government.
Both the ministers agreed to increase two-way business delegation activity, including Australia bringing a high level delegation to India focusing on infrastructure, industrial corridors, logistics and aviation.
Prabhu also called upon Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull and discussed transfer of technology and expertise related to solar power generation and storage and utilisation of power.
The bilateral trade between India and Australia increased to USD 18 billion in 2017-18 from USD 14.11 billion in the previous fiscal. Trade balance is highly in favour of Australia.