Australia, India to study free trade pact

Written by Reuters | Canberra, August 31: | Updated: Aug 31 2007, 16:13pm hrs
Australian and India will launch a study on a possible free trade pact between the two countries later this year, Australia's trade minister said on Friday.

"India is a emerging as one of the key drivers for global economic growth and its economic rise will be increasingly critical to world economic development," Warren Truss said.

"India's middle class will especially present important opportunities for Australian business. India also stands to benefit from Australia's significant economic strength and competencies."

Trade between Australia and India reached $9.26 billion in 2006-07. The two countries recently agreed to talks on a safeguards agreement clearing the way for uranium exports to India, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Truss said the feasibility study would commence in late 2007 and was expected to be completed in 2009.