Australian PM revives bilateral trade talks with India

Malcolm Turnbull is on a three-day visit to New Delhi and Mumbai

The Dollar Business Bureau

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, while on a three-day visit to New Delhi and Mumbai, has agreed to push for bilateral trade with India but indicated slow progress on the discussion amid concerns about “the right timing for a bilateral deal with the country”. 

Turnbull was of the view that it is difficult to enter India's market comprising a population of 1.3 billion people for farm exports from Australia. He also raised concerns about the opportunities available in Australia for skilled workers from India. According to him, the country will allow this only when there is genuine shortage of skills paving way for skilled persons from the overseas markets. 

Turnbull said that Australia is looking at India with a fresh perspective for the proposed bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) after he met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. 

According to the Australian Prime Minster, the country is more focussed on the broader Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that will include 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a few other countries including India, with which ASEAN has free trade deals. It will help Australia consolidate its trade front after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in January. 

Turnbull highlighted that Australia’s bilateral trade with India has increased to around $20 billion in the last decade but there was potential for this number to grow even further. 

Turnbull, on his India visit, has been accompanied by business delegation and heads of academic institutions. 

The Dollar Business Bureau - Apr 11, 2017 12:00 IST