Building further momentum towards the conclusion of an Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) is the key objective of a visit to India this week by the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb.

Prime Ministers Tony Abbott and Narendra Modi have set a target of completing negotiations by the end of this year. During his visit (21-24 April) Mr Robb will meet with Indian government counterparts, senior business leaders, investors and policy experts in both New Delhi and Mumbai to advance this objective.

“My aim is to keep the momentum building as there is definitely an enthusiasm on both sides to conclude a quality agreement this year, it won’t be easy, but it certainly remains an achievable goal,” Mr Robb said.

His visit follows a formal round of CECA negotiations in Canberra last week and Australia Business Week in India (ABWI) in January which was our largest ever trade and investment promotion on the sub-continent.

Mr Robb will participate, alongside Prime Minister Modi and key members of his economic team, in the inaugural Global Exhibition on Services in New Delhi. He will also participate in other services and investment roundtables.

“Services represent around 70 per cent of Australia’s economy, yet just 15 per cent of our exports. This is an export we are determined to grow and there are strong prospects with India across a wide range of services, given it is one of the world’s most rapidly growing services markets on account of a rising middle class,” he said.

Mr Robb said there was also significant scope to grow the two-way investment relationship between India and Australia. “I am determined to ensure that both services and investment are given real prominence in the CECA negotiations, along with improved levels of market access for goods trade.”

India is Australia’s 12th largest trading partner with two-way trade worth approximately A$15 billion. By comparison our two-way trade with China, our biggest trading partner, is worth around $160 billion. Indian foreign investment into Australia is worth almost $11 billion, with A$6.6 billion of Australian investment in India.

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