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India, Australia to conclude early harvest trade deal by December

India and Australia on Thursday agreed to conclude an early harvest trade deal by December before signing a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) by the end of 2022.

The two countries decided to expedite the long-pending trade deal at a meeting between commerce minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan, which marked the formal resumption of the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations.

“We have agreed on aggressive timelines,” Goyal said at a joint press conference after the 17th India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission meeting. India has been negotiating the CECA covering trade in goods, services, investment and related issues since 2011.

Key issues included the expeditious negotiation of a bilateral CECA, resolution of tax-related issues faced by Indian software firms in Australia, ensuring increased two-way trade and the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) scheduled to be held at the end of this year, a commerce ministry statement said.

“Both India and Australia reaffirmed commitment to conclude a CECA, including to reach an interim agreement by December 2021 to liberalise and deepen bilateral trade in goods and services, and to conclude the negotiations on a full CECA by the end of 2022,” it said.


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