New Delhi [India], October 1 (ANI): Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan on Friday said the bilateral economic partnership between the two countries has "untapped potential" and the relationship on the "economic front doesn't match the strategic partnership".
This comes a day after India and Australia launched the resumption of negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). Both have agreed to an exchange offer by the end of October, an interim agreement by Christmas and a full agreement by the end of 2022.
"While both agreed that this is an economic partnership of significance, it is one of untapped potential. There is so much more that we can do and that we can achieve together," Tehan said.
The minister said that both countries have agreed that it will re-energise the free trade agreement discussions that the two countries have been having. "We agreed that we would negotiate an interim agreement by Christmas. And a final free trade agreement by the following Christmas by December 2022."
Speaking on the interim agreement, Australian Trade Minister said a trade agreement would cover goods and services and rules of origin.
"We will look at standards and we will look at mutual recognition of qualifications. There will be a number of areas that an interim agreement will cover. We have also agreed that there will be market access offers by the end of October."
Tehan also noted that Australia's ties with India on the "economic front doesn't match the strategic partnership" that both countries have seen across the relationship.
Answering a question on the resumption of trade negotiations, the minister said both countries will have "fresh eyes and fresh ears" approach. "It's gonna be a very different perspective that we will bring. The partnership between the two countries has gone to a completely new level. The geostrategic environment has seen the relationship grow closer and closer."
The minister stressed that the economic partnership should match the broader strength in the overall relationship. "We have set up a framework to be able to do that," he added.
Tehan further said that ongoing negotiations will require commitment and that's why both countries have set up a timeframe to drive the trade agreement.
Over the question of sensitives on certain issues including in the dairy and agriculture sector, the minister said, "Of course, we can have a compromise. That is what these trade agreements are all about. Making sure there is a win for India and there is a win for Australia." (ANI)