Sunday, March 26, 2023

Oz FTA: Government eyes commitment on critical minerals – Usky News

New Delhi: India is seeking relaxation of mobility rules under the expanded free trade agreement.FTA) with Australia insisting on specific commitments on the supply of important minerals like lithium, because it fears that China and the US have already captured lucrative mines down Under.
A government source said a day after Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal’s meeting with his Australian counterpart Don Farrell, “While the specifics are yet to be discussed, we want a commitment on assured supplies specifically mentioned in the agreement.” “
Farrell and his cabinet colleague and Resources Minister Madeleine King were in India with Australian PM Anthony Albanese and have suggested that the vital mineral could be a key element of the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). So far, a limited deal referred to as the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement has been implemented with both countries seeking to finalize the CECA by the end of the year.
While Khanij Bidesh India (KABIL) and Australia’s Critical Minerals Facilitation Office have signed an MoU to facilitate India’s exploration for lithium, cobalt and graphite, a commitment in the proposed CECA will ease things. Officials said a major element of the discussions is strategic in nature, given that India and Australia are seeking to secure supply chains and reduce their dependence on China. In fact, there is a view to import minerals and process them to meet the requirement of renewable energy equipment in India as well as in Australia. Government sources also said that mobility is another important element of the proposed agreement, which is meant to go beyond trade in services through easier visa access. What this would mean is calls for students to be allowed to stay back in Australia while they look for jobs and similar aspects are on the agenda, although officials have been reluctant to share details.
He said some progress has been made in providing study-cum-work visa as well as mutual recognition of education standards, which will open the door for Indians to not only move and work in Australia but also provide online services .


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