Treaties Committee supports ratification of a further trade agreement, this time with India
THE Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has recommended the Australian Government ratifies the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA). This comes shortly after the committee recommended ratification of the free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.
Committee Chair, Josh Wilson MP said, “This ‘early harvest’ agreement with India paves the way for further trade, market access, investment and regulation that requires global cooperation. The AI-ECTA also ensures that Australia will not be excluded from improved trade and market access which may arise from agreements India subsequently negotiates with other nations.
“As an interim agreement however, the AI-ECTA is not as comprehensive in its scope and coverage as other trade agreements and under-achieves in areas of potential and immediate interest to Australia such as wine.
“As Australia moves towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, the committee has noted the importance of improved tariff reductions, greater access to services, and on broader matters like intellectual property, cultural heritage, the environment, and labour rights.”
The committee also took the opportunity in this report to express concerns regarding the extent and quality of consultation, transparency of negotiations, and lack of independent modelling and analysis of trade agreements.
In doing so, the committee again recommended the Australian Government implements the recommendations made in Report 193: Strengthening the Trade Agreement and Treaty-Making Process in Australia.
The report can be found on the Committee website, along with further information on the inquiry.