The India–Australia FTA’s impossible road ahead

27 May 2017
Author: Henry Sherrell, ANUThe India–Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement — or Free Trade Agreement in Australian parlance — took a tremendous blow on 19 April 2017.

Just a week earlier, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was winning plaudits in India. A successful multi-day visit dipped into complex economic and security questions, along with the obligatory public transport selfie. But in the process, a prudent Turnbull reset expectations about any trade agreement with India.

Previous Australian prime minister Tony Abbott had unwisely set an impossible bar in his excitement to conclude trade deals with South Korea, Japan and China. Turnbull’s careful rhetoric took the heat out of these expectations, allowing the diplomatic process an opportunity to quietly grind on beyond the glare of politics. As Turnbull himself said towards the end of his trip, ‘It may be that the conclusion will be reached that the parties are too far apart to enable a deal to be reached at this time’.

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Updated:  29 May 2017/ Responsible Officer:  SARI director/ Page Contact:  SARI director