India bilateral deal may slow down

22 March 2016

According to DFAT and statements made by new Trade Minister Steve Ciobo, bilateral talks between Australia and India are still a high priority and nearing conclusion. It has been the aim for negotiations to finish early this year and for legislation and ratification to take place before the end of the 2016.

However, recent news reports may indicate that momentum has slowed. An article in the local Indian press suggests that the Indian Government thinks that a bilateral deal with Australia may cause it to “lose leveraging power” in RCEP negotiations, which are also ongoing. Another article in the Australian Financial Review cites India’s domestic debate around manufacturing and revenue cost as reasons for a slowdown.

The major issues in this agreement are the likely inclusion of some form of ISDS, and reduced labour market testing and visa changes for temporary migrant workers. AFTINET will continue to monitor these talks.