By SAT News Desk
MELBOURNE, 17 August 2021: Australia’s former Prime Minister Mr. Tony Abbott has said the prospects of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Australia and India “was positive’. Mr. Abbott gave his views on this long-standing pending issue between the two countries, delivering the Keynote Address at the ‘Australia India Address 2021 – Celebrating 75 Years of Indian Independence’ Annual Address 2021 today.
Mr. Abbott was in India recently as PM Scott Morrison’s Special Trade Representative to India where he met political and business leaders, including PM Modi and Trade Minister Piyush Goyal.
A question about the FTA by SAT was not put to Mr. Tony Abbott and hence not answered.
There have been speculations as to what was achieved (read FTA with India) during Mr. Abbott’s India visit at the cost of the Australian taxpayers. In his address, Mr. Abbott says, he thinks we can “absolutely do business with India” and as for both the countries it is the “best times for trade talks to a conclusion as soon as possible.”
Detailing Australia-India imports and exports, Mr. Abbott, called India’s 150 % tariff on Australian Wines ‘unreasonable’.
In his speech to the Webinar, HE Mr. Manpreet Vohra, India’s High Commissioner in Canberra, while commending improved relations between India and Australia, talked about trade being ‘below expectations’, which needed to be enhanced into different sectors.
“Trade between the two countries only needs to be diversified,” he said.
NSW Labor MP Jody Mackay, pleaded with Australia to bring back Indian international students to Australia.
Deloitte Australia’s Indian Services Group Leader, Harsh Shah said, ” Australia has had a mixed history with India. Doing business with India is not easy. It is a very complex country for good reasons. But we have to do our homework, we have to address this market, going with eyes wide open, without a focus on the diaspora, without Asia and India centric thinking … we will really miss out
the true opportunity it represents.
The comprehensive strategic partnership and the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement of the FTA are very welcome steps. India is moving fast. It is not going to wait for Australia. The ball is in our court, and we need to act now. This is a defining moment.”
Others who participated in the event included Moderator Jim Varghese, Sheba Nandkelyar, Ambassador Mr. Anil Wadhwa, and Mr. Julian Leeser MP.
Source- AIBC, YouTube.