New Delhi: The 16th Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) between India and Australia was convened in New Delhi on 24 February. The Session was co-chaired by Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Government of India and Senator Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Government of Australia.
The session was attended by officials from the Departments of Commerce, Revenue, Agriculture, Fisheries, Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade, and Ministry of External Affairs on the Indian side. The delegation from Australia included officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade, Export Finance Australia and Australian High Commission.
The two sides acknowledged the considerable growth in the India-Australia economic relationship in strategic, trade and people-to-people links since the last Joint Ministerial Commission in June 2018.
Both sides welcomed efforts to elevate the bilateral economic relationship. They agreed to consider reviving the negotiations on the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). They agreed to take forward the issue of harmonising standards and regulatory barriers for products of interest to both sides, in parallel. They also agreed to revive negotiations proposed under free trade agreement (FTA).
On two-way investment, both sides noted the visits by three delegations of Australian superannuation funds over the previous year. They agreed to continue to work together to foster awareness of the opportunities in India among Australian investors.
Both sides reflected on the important role the private sector played in building the bilateral economic relationship. India welcomed the Australia-India Business Exchange program, including the delegation of over 100 Australian businesses accompanying Minister Birmingham to India. The business delegation is exploring opportunities in education, food, health, beauty, resources, and infrastructure.
India raised the issue of taxing of off-shore income of Indian firms through the use of India-Australia Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and sought early resolution of the issue. Both sides agreed to intensify discussions.
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