India and Australia have agreed to conclude the negotiations for a comprehensive free trade agreement “as soon as possible” as there is huge potential to enhance bilateral commerce in the next five years, according to a joint statement issued on Sunday.
The statement was released after the meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Australia’s Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell here on March 11.
Both countries have already implemented an economic cooperation and trade agreement (ECTA) in December 2022 and are now negotiating to widen the scope of that pact into a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA).
“Ministers look forward to concluding CECA as soon as possible,” the statement said.
The CECA will create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and improve the general welfare in both countries, it added.
The ministers also highlighted the importance of a smooth and timely clean energy transition as both countries work towards achieving their respective net zero goals.
“India-Australia bilateral trade exceeded USD 31 billion last financial year. Both agreed that given the trade complementarities between the two countries, there is considerable potential for significantly enhancing bilateral trade within the next 5 years,” the statement said.