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India, Australia trade pact to include e-commerce: Australia’s trade minister

Tehan said there are certain sectors that Australia wants to improve its market access but he acknowledged that there were sensitivities in India that have to be taken into account. (HT_PRINT)Premium
Tehan said there are certain sectors that Australia wants to improve its market access but he acknowledged that there were sensitivities in India that have to be taken into account. (HT_PRINT)

  • Both the sides are currently working on an interim deal for adoption by December this year. The two countries have also decided to expedite negotiations for the economic partnership deal at Thursday’s meeting.

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New Delhi: India and Australia have agreed to include e-commerce within the ambit of a free trade agreement which is likely to be put in place by December 2022, according to the visiting Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan.

Tehan told reporters at a briefing here that he and India’s commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal have discussed issues relating to textiles and agriculture at a three-hour meeting on the proposed trade deal.

"E-commerce was something that we discussed yesterday. And what minister (Piyush) Goyal and myself agreed was that there would be an e-commerce chapter in the final agreement," Tehan said.

Both the sides are currently working on an interim deal for adoption by December this year. The two countries have also decided to expedite negotiations for the economic partnership deal at Thursday’s meeting.

Tehan said there are certain sectors that Australia wants to improve its market access but he acknowledged that there were sensitivities in India that have to be taken into account.

"So it might be that there are some areas where we can use investment, there might be some areas where we can use technology... where we can use services to help in terms of growing the partnership when it comes to agriculture," he said. The proposed trade agreement would cover trade in goods and services, and investment.

The interim deal is expected to cover goods, services, investment, energy and resources, logistics and transport, standards, rules of origin, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The two ministers also agreed to explore government procurement. It was agreed that there would be an exchange of offers by the end of October 2021, said a statement from Tehan on Friday.

Major Indian exports to Australia are petroleum products, medicines, polished diamonds, gold jewellery, apparels etc, while key Australian exports to India include coal, LNG and alumina.

In services, major Indian exports relate to travel, telecom and computer, government and financial services, while Australian services exports were principally in education and personal related travel. In 2020, India was Australia's seventh-largest trading partner and sixth largest export destination, driven by coal and international education, said the statement.

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