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Last Updated:[05-06-2012 07:43:19 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Australia - India in better position to finalize free trade agreement

tradenews MELBOURNE: Despite the "shocks and jolts" in the past, Australia and India are in a better position to finalize a free trade agreement (FTA) that would further expand bilateral relations, according to a Melbourne-based think tank.

Trade and investments between the two countries have been increasing continuously at a substantial rate over the past few years and there is a sense of new movement between both the sides, said Amitabh Mattoo, the director of Australia India Institute (AII).

"There is a movement, a new energy and robustness in the relations of the two sides. The bilateral relations have taken off, particularly after Labor Party lifted the Uranium sale ban last year," Mattoo said. Commenting on the FTA agreement, Mattoo said, "These things are working slowly but I am confident that the breakthrough in this regards will happen sooner or later."

"Its a relationship like any other relationship with multiple tracks. The economic relationship on many tracks is doing very well in terms of commodities, trade and mining," Mattoo said. "Ideally, what Indian companies want is an access to Australian market, the area which the comprehensive FTA working group is currently working on," he said.

Accelerating the implementation of the FTA strategy is an important part of its further opening-up policy, Mattoo said. Last year, India and Australia committed to double the bilateral trade within five years. India is Australia's fourth largest export market as it is a heavy importer of gold, coal an copper.

That relationship has now been pegged at over $20 billion a year, having doubled in the past five, and is predicted to keep growing at about 20 per cent a year.

Source: Economic Times

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