India/Australia FTA

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.


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.

AFTINET condemns secretive process and calls for full cost-benefit analysis of India-Australia trade deal

Media Release April 2, 2022: The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network of community groups has today warned that the “early harvest” trade deal between India and Australia must be independently evaluated to scrutinise both the costs and benefits for Australia.

The signing and release of the text just before the election and is due to be called after parliament has risen will also avoid any parliamentary scrutiny of the text until after the election.

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