Kolkata: Australian High Commissioner Patrick Suckling today said the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with India would boost trade ties between the two countries.

“Bilateral trade volume with India is Aus$ 15 billion at present, that with China is Aus$ 160 billion. There is considerable scope for increasing that through the CECA,” Suckling said at a news conference here.

CECA with Australia was proposed five years ago. “We hope that the agreement is going to be signed by the end of this year,” he said. Now with the study for the proposed pact completed, it is expected that the trade agreement would aim at maximising the economic relationship between the two countries.

The agreement would cover goods, services and investment, he said adding maintaining zero or very low tariff levels would help India in fostering trading partnership with Australia.

Australia, he said, was also keen on India opening the door of its agriculture sector by both allowing investments and agri-commodities to enter this country.

Other areas of cooperation from Australia were energy and mining among others. Australia had earlier inked such pacts with China, South Korea and Japan, he said.

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