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India seeks lower import tariff from Australia

Govt has stressed that specialised access for some identified products from India is important to bridge the gaping trade deficit.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 26, 2012, 05.10 AM IST
NEW DELHI: India has asked Australia to lower tariff and other import barriers on a host of products including pharmaceuticals, passenger cars, gems & jewellery, garments, chemicals and machinery in the bilateral free trade agreement being negotiated.

New Delhi has stressed that specialised access for some identified products from India, many of which are being imported in large quantities from China, is important to bridge the gaping trade deficit between the two countries.

"We are keen to conclude the proposed FTA with Australia, but it has to be done in a way that the large trade deficit does not get larger and we get to sell the products where we are competitive," an official told ET. India imported goods worth $15 billion from Australia in 2011-12 compared to exports worth $2.4 billion, running a trade deficit of $12.5 billion.

India and Australia began talks on a free trade pact, formally known as a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement, in May last year and are still at an initial stage of discussion. Both hope to increase bilateral trade to an annual $45 billion from the present $18 billion in the next five years as a result of the FTA.

New Delhi believes that its industry can export several products to Australia if it gets marginally better terms of trade, especially in goods where China is dominating. In a recent negotiating group meeting, India came up with a long list of products where it could give Australia assured quality at reasonable prices, the official said.

It included pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, gems & jewellery, passenger cars, transport equipment, machinery and instruments, manufacture and metals, electronics goods, plastic products, garments, leather, rubber products, marine products, telephones, metal and furniture.

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