The 14th India-Australia Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) Meeting was held in New Delhi on 29th January, 2013 co-chaired by Shri Anand Sharma, Hon™ble Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, India and the Hon™ble Dr. Craig Emerson MP, Australian Minister for Trade and Competitiveness and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy.
The issues discussed during JMC meeting were institutional framework for growth in bilateral trade and investment, initiatives of India Australia CEO forum, Australia and India™s mutual interests in the effectiveness of global and regional economic institutions, launch of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP) negotiations, strengthening of the East Asia Summit as a forum that incorporated all major economies in the India-Pacific region, G-20, WTO, IOR-ARC, Education and skill development, agriculture cooperation and food security, people-to-people links, etc.
During the JMC, both sides also reviewed bilateral co-operations in sectors like Agriculture, Civil nuclear energy cooperation agreement and Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) etc. These are incorporated in the Joint Statement. The Joint Statement may be accessed from the website of Department of Commerce website at http://commerce.gov.in under Head: International Trade, Subhead: Joint Statements and Minutes of Meeting.
In April 2008, a Joint Study Group (JSG) was constituted, inter alia, to examine the feasibility for establishing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Australia. Based on the recommendations of the JSG, India-Australia are negotiating CECA covering trade in goods, services, investment and IPR related issues. The 1st round of India-Australia CECA negotiations was held during 28th-29th July, 2011. Four rounds of negotiations have been held so far as under: 2nd round–17-18th November, 2011; 3rd Round—24-25th May 2012; 4th round–8-9th November, 2012.
Both sides are negotiating the CECA as stated above and the fifth round is likely to take place in Mid May, 2013. It is not feasible to indicate the time likely to be taken to complete the negotiations in a balanced manner bringing mutual benefit, and this was recognised by both leaders in JMC.
This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Dr. D.Purandeswari, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.