India, Australia to finalise early harvest agreement in next 30 days: Goyal

India, Australia to finalise early harvest agreement in next 30 days: Goyal


India and have set up an ‘aggressive’ 30-day timeline to finalise the early harvest agreement (EHA), before firming up a full-fledged free trade agreement between both countries, commerce and industry minister said on Thursday.

“I can assure you that we have a very strong partnership in the making, which we will finalise over the next 30 days. That’s the kind of aggressive timelines that have been set for our teams today. I’m quite confident we will come up with some very exciting for businesses in both countries,”Goyal said after a meeting with his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan, who is visiting the national capital to advance the trade negotiations between both nations.

Both Goyal and Tehan said that education will be the centre stage of negotiation. “We want to look at mutual recognition of educational qualifications between and India. Because if we can do that, with Australian students coming to India to study, what happens then is that their parents will want to come to visit them,” Tehan said, pointing out that it will also boost tourism.

“It’ll be one of the fastest negotiating free trade agreements that has ever been done by India or by to large economies,” Goyal said. Australia looking at substantial opportunities across sectors like mining, pharma, education, renewables, textiles

India and Australia had set a tight deadline of concluding an early harvest agreement — a precursor to FTA or Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in this case — by December 25, as more work needed to be done towards the deal. Sources said the meeting between the ministers was crucial as both nations were yet to agree on respective demand lists.

Both countries will also ink a pact on Friday in the field of tourism to enhance cooperation and encourage the expansion of bilateral relations. Besides, India’s finance ministry and the treasurer are also aggressively trying to resolve a pending issue related to investment, which will also be a part of the agreement between both nations.

Australia was India’s 15th largest trading partner in FY21. Petroleum products, medicines, polished diamonds, gold jewellery, apparels are the key items exported to Australia, while coal, alumina and non-monetary gold are key products exported to India. In services, major Indian exports relate to travel, telecom and computer, government and financial services, while Australian services exports were principally in education and personal related travel.

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