India and Australia agreed in early 2008 to set up a Joint Study Group (JSG) comprising Government officials and research organizations to explore the feasibility of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries. A considered view on whether to go ahead to an FTA has been taken by the Government (Trade and Economic Related Committee) based on the report of the JSG. As per the approval, both the countries have started negotiations for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) / Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) covering trade in goods, services, investment and related issues.
So far four rounds of negotiations have been held. The 1st round of India-Australia CECA negotiations was held during 28th-29th July, 2011 and the 4th round of negotiations was held on 8-9th November, 2012 in New Delhi where both sides had exchanged their Goods Offer. During 4th round of negotiations, discussions were held in the Working Groups on goods, investment, services, legal and institutional matter, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) / Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Rules of Origin and Customs procedures and Trade facilitation.
The negotiations are currently under way and no time frame has been fixed by the Government for entering into FTA between India and Australia.
This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Dr. D Purandeswari in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.