India/Australia FTA scoping

Interim Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AIECTA) and Comprehensive Agreement

The India-Australia FTA (known as the  Interim Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AIECTA) negotiations began in 2012, were accelerated from 2014, and in August 2016 the Australian Government announced that they were on hold, as India focussed on the RCEP.

In November 2019, following both civil society and local business protests, India left the RCEP negotiations

In June 2020 Indian and Australian  leaders announced a Comprehensive strategic Partnership of cooperation on defence, security, maritime,  economic, education, tourism and other issues. This is less legally binding and does not provide the same market access as an FTA.  Further trade talks were held  and the text of an interim legally binding trade agreement was signed and publicly released late on April 2, just before the election was announced.  A Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) inquiry was announced but was suspended pending the election.  See AFTINET’s initial media release which criticised the secrecy of the process and the lack of parliamentary scrutiny until after the election.


AFTINET submission to the India - Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement

January 25, 2023: The India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (AI-CECA) negotiations are due to begin in late January 2023 and are expected to finish by June. The interim agreement, which was negotiated by the previous government, mainly dealt with trade in goods and services, and movement of temporary workers. The comprehensive negotiations will deal with issues like labour rights, environmental standards, digital trade, intellectual property and government procurement.

AFTINET submission to the JSCOT review of the interim Australia-India Economic Cooperation Agreement

August 19, 2022: The interim IACEPA was negotiated under the previous government in haste and without consultation with civil society organisations.. Some of its provisions are not consistent with the current government’s policy. The interim agreement contains only 14 chapters out of a possible 20 or 30 chapters and commits to negotiations for a comprehensive agreement which would include further chapters.

Australia-India Interim Economic Cooperation Agreement submissions due August 19

August 8, 2022: Labor has a policy for a more transparent public and parliamentary process for future trade agreements. See our critique of the current process here and Labor policy here.

However the government  is proceeding with the  very limited Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) review process for the Indian and UK agreements which were signed by the previous government before the election. AFTINET raised the process issues in our submission on the UK FTA and will raise them in our submission on the India FTA.

Parliamentary Inquiry on the Australia-India interim trade agreement: submissions and inquiry delayed until after election on May 21

April 11, 2022: The interim Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement  (AIECTA) was announced on April 1 to selected media and the good news about increased agricultural exports was in the media before the text was signed and publicly released late on April 2. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) announced an Inquiry but submissions and the inquiry are now delayed until after the election on May 21.