India and Australia to Start FTA Talks
India and Australia have agreed to start talks on a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) in June this year in order to open markets in goods and services. The objective of the FTA will be to double bilateral trade between the two countries in the next five years.
Bilateral trade between India and Australia stood at $20 billion during 2009-2010. India’s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said they expect to make strong gains in the services sector and have greater market access for goods such as pharmaceuticals.
India is currently Australia’s fourth largest export market, as they are heavy importers of gold, coal, copper, fertilizers, manganese, wool and aluminum as well as large contributors to Australia’s foreign student market. Currently Australia has a larger proportion of trade between the two economies but Sharma expects India’s share to increase once the FTA is finalized.
India’s main exports to Australia are machinery & equipment, clothing, diamonds, iron & steel products and medicines.