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Australia and India close to inking far-ranging trade agreement

Put it there, partner. PM Anthony Albanese and India's Narendra Modi shake on the new pact at the Bali G20 summit. <i>Photo: AAP</i>

Put it there, partner. PM Anthony Albanese and India's Narendra Modi shake on the new pact at the Bali G20 summit. Photo: AAP

A new trade deal between Australia and India has been approved by a parliamentary committee, despite concerns about its broadness compared to arrangements with other nations.

The treaties committee released their report approving the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) on Friday.

But the committee noted the interim arrangement “under-achieves in areas of potential and immediate interest to Australia, such as wine”.

Labor MP Josh Wilson, who chairs the committee, described the deal as an ‘early harvest’ agreement which would pave the way for further trade, market access, investment and regulation.

“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,” he said.

The committee also raised concerns with the lack of consultation on the deal, transparency of the negotiations and independent modelling.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit this week.

The pair were in good spirits, as Mr Albanese cracked a joke that Mr Modi was now “president and prime minister” with India to host the G20 presidency next year.

-AAP

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