1. Home
  2. News

Australia & India Close to Finalizing Free Trade Deal

India and Australia have been negotiating a free trade agreement for more than ten years, with talks starting in 2011 and being suspended four years later in 2015. Finally, in 2020, Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Narendra Modi agreed to restart talks amid improving ties between Delhi and Canberra.

Shivam Dwivedi
Dan Tehan, Australia's trade minister and his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal
Dan Tehan, Australia's trade minister and his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal

As the government works to strike a deal less than two months before an expected May election, Australia is on the verge of finalizing a free-trade agreement with India, with an announcement expected in "coming days."

Dan Tehan, Australia's trade minister, said he and his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal met daily and were "getting very close" to a deal. Tehan expressed optimism that an announcement would be made soon.

In an interview, he said, "Both sides are working feverishly to make sure we can get an agreement that is in both our national interests."

India and Australia have been negotiating a free trade agreement for more than ten years, with talks starting in 2011 and being suspended four years later in 2015. Finally, in 2020, Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Narendra Modi agreed to restart talks amid improving ties between Delhi and Canberra.

According to the Australian government, two-way trade between India and Australia was worth A$24.3 billion ($18.3 billion) in 2020, up from $13.6 billion in 2007. One of the main sticking points, according to experts, is agriculture, with Australia wanting access to the Indian market but Modi's government unwilling to jeopardize its domestic farmers, a key voting bloc.

The push for an agreement comes just weeks before Australia's national election, with Morrison's center-right government promoting a narrative of strong economic management as it tries to gain ground in opinion polls.

Tehan is currently in the United States to meet with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo for the two countries' first Strategic Economic Dialogue, where they were expected to discuss China's trade coercion against Australia and the need to strengthen rare earth supply chains.

"The traditional rule book is being thrown out the window because we are seeing some countries try to influence global trade by using their economic weight and power, economic coercion, and non-market practices," he said.

Take a Quiz on Green Revolution Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters