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.

AFTINET's  submission recommends that those provisions in the interim agreement on industry policy, trade in services and temporary movement of natural people and which are inconsistent with government policy be removed before ratification.

Failing this, the government should ensure that such provisions are removed during the comprehensive negotiations.  This submission makes detailed recommendations for a more transparent and democratically accountable process to be followed for the negotiation of the comprehensive agreement, consistent with the current government’s policy.

Further the government should ensure that the framework of the agreement does not inhibit government policies of support for active local industry policies and the development of renewable energy industries, including government procurement policies. Other provisions like ISDS and the removal of labour market testing for temporary workers, which are not in the interim agreement and which are contrary to current government policy should be excluded from the comprehensive agreement. Government should also ensure that, consistent with its policies, the agreement includes enforceable international labour rights and environmental standards.