Australia, India Take First Steps Towards Free Trade Agreement

Trade between countries reached $9.3 billion in 2006-2007

In a move Trade Minister Warren Truss said was a natural result of New Delhi's rising economic power, Australia and India last week agreed to study the possibility of a free trade agreement (FTA). There has been rapid growth in trade and investment between the two countries.

"The FTA feasibility study is a natural extension of the Australian government's efforts to look at ways to tap the potential of India's rise as a major economic power," he said. Two-way trade in goods with India reached 11.4 billion dollars (US$9.3 billion) in 2006-07, making the country Australia's ninth-largest trading partner, he said. Services trade with India in 2006 was 1.9 billion dollars.

"India's middle class will especially present important opportunities for Australian business. India also stands to benefit from Australia's significant economic strength and competencies," said Truss.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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