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‘Bollywood to Brisbane:’ PM wraps up India trip with film deal

Australia and India will collaborate on an audiovisual co-production deal designed to “bring a slice of Bollywood to Brisbane” following the prime minister’s whirlwind tour of the Asian economic powerhouse.

Anthony Albanese and Indian counterpart Narendra Modi finalised the deal on Friday, encouraging collaboration and creative exchange to ensure more co-produced films between the nations.

Projects in both countries will get access to government funding including grants and tax offsets.

It was one of a number of major announcements made following meetings between the two leaders, including on trade and defence.

In a joint address with Mr Modi at the end of the tour, Mr Albanese revealed the nations agreed on an early conclusion to their Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement, adding he was hopeful the deal would be wrapped up by the end of the year.

Arts Minister Tony Burke said the Australian screen industry would benefit greatly from the co-production deal, including through greater access for local filmmakers to the international scene.

“India is a global powerhouse when it comes to film … bringing a slice of Bollywood to Brisbane, while showcasing Melbourne to Mumbai is good news for the Australian screen industry,” he said.

“This will open up new audiences and investment for local screen producers, taking Australian stories to one of the largest cinema audiences in the world.”

Trade Minister Don Farrell, who was in India to sign the deal, agreed India’s role as a “cultural powerhouse” made it a significant announcement.

“India is an important economic and cultural partner to Australia, and our governments have been working hard to bring our two film industries closer together,” he said .

‘Transformational’ trade deal

Australia could sign a “transformational” Indian trade deal by the end of the year after Anthony Albanese wrapped up his visit to the subcontinent by unveiling a string of agreements.

At a joint address with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, the prime minister revealed the two countries had finalised deals to boost economic and cultural ties.

Significantly, Mr Albanese said the nations agreed on an early conclusion to their Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement, adding he was hopeful it would be wrapped up by the end of the year.

“This transformational deal will realise the full potential of the bilateral economic relationship, creating employment opportunities and raising living standards for the people of both Australia and India,” he said.

A limited free-trade agreement between the countries came into effect in January but has already borne fruit, with more than $2.5 billion worth of Australian produce hitting India.

Climate change move

The pair also announced an Australia-India solar task force co-chaired by Australian professor Renate Egan, one tangible outcome from discussions of the need to address climate change.

The nations are also set to work more closely on supplying critical minerals as India seeks to meet ambitious goals of 50 per cent renewable energy and 30 per cent electric vehicle usage by 2030.

“I am proud of the existing co-operation between Australia and India on solar and hydrogen technologies … and the opportunities for us to work more closely to secure critical minerals supply chains,” Mr Albanese said.

“The task force will provide our governments with advice on opportunities to accelerate solar PV deployment and enhance supply chains.”

Defence and security

The leaders also made “significant and ambitious progress” on defence and security and committed to more information sharing.

“Prime Minister Modi and I discussed the increasingly uncertain global security environment and committed to strengthening the Australia-India defence and security partnership to address shared challenges and work towards an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Mr Albanese said.

“I welcome increased defence information sharing between Australia and India including in the maritime domain.”

Mr Albanese had earlier toured a new aircraft carrier INS Vikrant – the first such vessel to be built in India – before he foreshadowed a national security deal.

Later this year, Australia will host Exercise Malabar for the first time and India will make its inaugural participation in Australia’s Talisman Sabre exercise.

Brazil, Australia start agricultural trade deal talks

The Brazilian and Australian governments have opened talks aimed at forging new agricultural trade agreements, according to a statement from the Brazilian agriculture ministry.

Brazil aims to export pork to Australia, the statement issued on Friday said.

The South American country in turn could start importing Australian wheat and barley under a potential pact.

To implement the agreement, Brazil and Australia must negotiate a reduction of bilateral trade tariffs at the the World Trade Organisation, according to the statement.

Sophie Davis, Australia’s ambassador to Brazil, met with Brazilian Agriculture Ministry Carlos Favaro on Wednesday.

Aside from liberalising trade, the pair also discussed sustainable agriculture projects and opportunities for research co-operation in the field.

— AAP

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