Australia interested in comprehensive FTA with IndiaOctober 16th, 2008 - 9:42 pm ICT by ANI
New Delhi, Oct.16 (ANI): Australia’’s Trade Minister Simon Crean has said that his country is interested in a comprehensive pact with India that covers all the sectors, including services.
“I think that is a matter of discussion following feasibility study. I expect it to say there will be bigger benefits to both countries if the agreement is comprehensive,” Crean said.
He said that Australia is keen on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India, but the agreement needs to be comprehensive and covering all sectors.
“We certainly understand the sensitivities of Indian economy in terms of subsistence agriculture,” Crean said, adding that the sensitivities can be addressed within the framework of the agreement.
The feasibility study, which is being brought about as a result of visit of Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath to Australia, should provide the basis to enable the Island nation to go forward, he said adding that it depends on political will on both sides.
Commenting on the potential sectors, Crean said services sector is a big area of opportunity for both the countries.
India’’s services sector is more than half of its economy and the biggest areas of trade expansion are in this sector, he said.
“The nature of the negotiations needs to appreciate that and work through.”
On financial services sector a number of countries have restrictions, he said. “We have been able to weather the storm because we opened up our banking system. And we had to ensure that we had the world’’s best banking system before inviting them.”
Crean said, “Through the bilateral relationship, the trade agenda is not just the FTA. It is also about Doha and regional architecture.”
Commenting on the WTO negotiations, Crean said, “We aim to do something to complete modalities by end of the year. Safety Security Measure is not only outstanding issue but is an important one to resolve. I believe there is a solution at technical level.”
On uranium trade, Crean said that India has not made any request for the mineral.
“As the members of Nuclear Supplier’’s Group and in agreement with the US we supported the deal between India and America.But Labour government is committed not to supply uranium to non-signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“Indian government has acknowledged that it fully understands our party’’s position that we will not supply uranium to parties that our non signatories to the NPT,” he added.
Tags: banking system, bilateral relationship, commerce minister, feasibility study, financial services sector, free trade agreement, fta, indian commerce, indian economy, island nation, kamal nath, number of countries, regional architecture, security measure, simon crean, subsistence agriculture, trade agenda, trade expansion, trade minister, wto negotiations