Former Minister for Trade
Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

11 April 2008

Australia and India Agree Terms for Free Trade Agreement Feasibility Study

The Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, today announced that Australia and India have agreed terms of reference for the Australia-India free trade agreement (FTA) feasibility study.

Australian and Indian officials will hold their first meeting in New Delhi next week and the study is expected to be completed by early 2009.

“I am pleased that India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has personally approved the terms of reference.  Given the complementary nature of our economies in so many areas this is an exciting prospect,” Mr Crean said.

“The FTA study will consider the feasibility of a comprehensive World Trade Organization-consistent agreement covering trade in goods, services and investment”.

“The bilateral trading relationship is increasing in importance for both countries, with India now Australia’s sixth largest and fastest growing major export market.”

“The study will consider how an FTA might help take the economic partnership to a stronger level.”

“High quality FTAs can bring considerable economic benefits through the jobs created by increased trade and investment and by bringing forward the pace of growth-enhancing economic reform”, Mr Crean said.

The Government is seeking the views of key stakeholders, including business and State and Territory governments, in developing Australia’s approach to the study.

Tariff liberalisation and the removal of other impediments to the trade in goods will be a key focus of the study.

In relation to services, the study will consider the scope for broad sectoral liberalisation including consideration of mutual recognition agreements and the movement of business personnel.

The study will also consider other key issues such as intellectual property rights, competition policy, government procurement, sanitary and phytosanitary issues, and technical barriers to trade.

Media Inquiries: Mr Crean's office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555