Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Ai-Ceca)

This highlighted Australia`s relations with India, the other major power in the region, and an overhaul of trade and economic relations between the two countries, particularly with regard to the Australian-Indian Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (AI-ECSC). Alongside a willingness to consider an early harvest agreement with India by the end of the year, the two roadmaps drawn up by India and Australia to strengthen trade and economic relations are currently under review. With respect to the current geopolitical and geoeconomic context, there is a growing recognition that expectations for pre-COVID-19 free trade agreements will not be transferred to the post-COVID-19 world. Some countries want to build more island economies, with a rise in economic nationalism, accompanied by debates about decoupling, economic sovereignty and autonomy. Formal negotiations for the ECSC began in 2011 and progressed in 2014 when Prime Ministers Abbott and Modi renewed the commitment of both countries to soon reach a balanced and mutually beneficial agreement. In April 2015, Australia`s then Minister of Trade, Andrew Robb, visited India. A lot has changed since then. China is no longer Australia`s best trading friend, India is no longer trapped in its historical reserves over Australia, and COVID-19 has spared no one. The pandemic has exposed many countries to global supply chain risks, the dangers of over-reliance on exports, and the need for economic diversification. The recent visit of former Australian Prime Minister and Special Envoy for Trade Tony Abbott to India has brought to light the long-suspended Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – officially known as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECSC). A modern trade agreement between India and Australia must go beyond goods, services and investment in a wider range of policy areas that guarantee trade and investment. Nevertheless, any agreement depends on the dynamics of domestic reforms in both countries to ensure a balanced outcome. India-Australia relations are receiving increased attention this year as the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific becomes more complicated.

China`s growing ambition to become the hegemonic power in Asia has changed Australia`s economic and strategic position in the region, including relying increasingly on the US and Britain for its security through the AUKUS alliance, the growing importance of the QUAD (India, Japan, the US and Australia) and the continued consequences of the termination of the French submarine agreement. Some of the key issues discussed by the Working Parties are tariff modalities for goods, the list of services and investments, elements of RCEP chapters and their possible texts, intellectual property, competition, economic and technical cooperation, legal and institutional issues, customs procedures and trade facilitation, rules of origin, etc. While three working groups, namely the Working Party on Trade in Goods (WGTIG), the Working Party on Trade in Services (WGTIS) and the Working Party on Investment (WGI), have been established under the AFP SEOM consultation mechanism; Three new Working Groups on Competition, Intellectual Property and Economic and Technical Cooperation (ECOTECH) were established at the 4th meeting of RCEP from March 31 to April 4, 2014 in Nanning, China. At the 5th meeting of RCEP, held in Singapore from 21 to 27 June 2014, a new working group on „Legal and Institutional Issues“ was established. Four sub-working groups, reporting to the Working Party on Trade in Goods, have been established on Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation (CPTF), SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures) and Stracap (Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures). Therefore, at the institutional level, in addition to the NTC, there are 7 working groups and 4 working sub-groups The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is the largest economic community in Africa with 19 Member States, namely Burundi, Comoros, DR Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. To further deepen their trade relationship, the governments of Australia and India began negotiating the Australian-Indian Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECSC) in 2011. Negotiations are expected to conclude shortly and another bilateral trade agreement between Australia and its key partners in the Asian region is expected to materialize. The implementation of the ECSC with India is expected to contribute significantly to the further growth of trade in goods and services and investment. In addition to the ECSC, Australia and India are participating in the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – an ASEAN-centric proposal for a free trade area that would initially include the 10 ASEAN member states and countries with existing free trade agreements with ASEAN.

The „Guiding Principles and Objectives for the Negotiation of the RCEP“, adopted by the Ministers of Economic Affairs in August 2012, set out certain principles, such as.B. a broader and deeper commitment with significant improvements over existing free trade agreements, taking into account the individual and different situation of countries; facilitate countries` engagement in global and regional supply chains; Taking into account the different levels of development of the participating countries, etc. It also mentions areas of negotiation such as goods, services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition and dispute settlement with the possibility of identifying other areas. Australia and India are making progress towards the conclusion of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (ACTA), which is expected to provide a significant boost to investment in both directions and further strengthen bilateral economic relations. Independent modelling from 2008 suggested that an Australian-Indian ECSC over a 20-year period could lead to a net increase in Australian GDP of up to USD 32 billion and Indian GDP up to USD 34 billion. The study concluded that resources, agriculture, manufacturing, financial services, software, telecommunications and education were the sectors likely to benefit most from a trade agreement between India and Australia. Since the end of the study, these possibilities have only become increasingly clear. As a result, negotiations with the GCC have begun. Two rounds of negotiations have taken place so far in 2006 and 2008. The third round did not take place because the GCC postponed its negotiations with all countries and economic groups and is currently reviewing its negotiations with all countries and economic groups. Various bilateral/multilateral for a are seeking to resume negotiations as soon as possible.

Abbott`s appointment reflects the Morrison government`s awareness that it takes more than just an economy to make progress on a trade deal with India. The tense negotiations need a political boost from individuals who India says can restore confidence in bilateral relations. Abbott has a relationship with Indian political circles because he is credited with concluding Australia`s free trade agreements with three of Asia`s largest economies – China, Japan and South Korea. India is currently revising its FTA strategy to ensure that it achieves economic gains while safeguarding its national interests. New Delhi also wants to compensate for the losses of the withdrawal from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Sixth, the blocking of skilled immigration due to border closures has forced Australian businesses to make an effort to fill the roles. Canberra could use an Early Harvest Deal to attract skilled workers from India to address the current skills shortage and strengthen cooperation on skills development. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a comprehensive free trade agreement negotiated between the 10 ASEAN member states and ASEAN partners under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. RCEP reflects the emerging business and economic architecture around the world. It should not be seen in isolation, but in the context of other emerging comprehensive free trade agreements, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the newly established Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), in which the United States and the European Union are involved. Under comprehensive regional trade agreements around the world, the TPP would cover the western flank with TTIP as the central flank and the RCEP as the eastern flank.

Therefore, RCEP is of strategic importance to India, both in the context of its Look East policy and in the overall nature of its engagement. At the 1st meeting of the JSG, it was decided that the India-COMESA JSG would prepare a joint report containing its recommendations for consideration by the Government of India and the COMESA Secretariat. Dr. Amitendu Palit, Ambassador Anil Wadhwa and Peter Varghese AO FAIIA with the Honourable Lisa Singh. .