Trade with India: key issues

The India-Australia FTA (known as the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement or AICECA) 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 inquiry was announced but has been 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 will make a full submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties inquiry when it resumes after the election.

Major issues:

ISDS and tariffs: Australia wants TPP model of ISDS, but India wants a more limited version, with less rights for corporations and more protections for government regulation. 

India is also reluctant to move to zero tariffs.

Temporary migrant workers: India is seeking expansion of temporary workers and other changes to student visas and computer-related service providers.

See our submissions below:

AFTINET Second Submission to DFAT September 2015

AFTINET Submission August 2011 to DFAT on the proposed agreement.

AFTINET Submission to the feasibility study March 2008.

Last updated May 2022