India and Australia have agreed to conclude the Free Trade Agreement, FTA by between the two nations by the end of 2022. The announcement was made today at the end of a meeting between Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Don Tehan.
Hailing the development as a big day for the economic partnership between the two countries, Australian Trade Minister Tehan said, the two sides agreed on a roadmap towards finalizing the FTA after today’s discussion. Speaking to the media, Mr. Tehan affirmed the 2022 deadline for the conclusion of the FTA.
Article 24 of the World Trade Organization, WTO allows countries to form customs unions (CUs) or FTAs under two conditions. First, members should eliminate, substantially all internal barriers to trade inside the union, second, external trade barriers should not be increased on average.
Speaking at the joint press briefing Mr. Goyal stated that the deal leverages the complementarities between the two countries and would unlock the trade potential between them. Responding to a question on India’s decision not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, RCEP, the Minister said that India did not join RCEP because it was not in the economic interest of RCEP.
The development comes days after the Prime Ministers of the two-nation, Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison met in Washington as part of the QUAD leaders meet.