New Delhi: Visiting Australian trade minister Dan Tehan has said that his country is keen to diversify trading ties with India, amid a spat with China straining economic ties. China has increased tariffs on Australian goods like barely, wine, coal in the backdrop of Canberra raising the issue of the origin of the COVID-19 crisis. China’s Wuhan reported the first case of the coronavirus, and questions remain on it being natural origin or human-made.
While spekaing to reporters in Delhi, Tehan said, “Australia currently has difficulties in our economic relationship with China. They have been very well documented and one of the reasons we have been looking to diversify our trading relationship. We obviously, want to have a very constructive relationship with China but we also understand given the difficulties we are facing at the moment, need to use to diversify.”
Australia has canceled the Bejing belt and road initiative projects, which angered Beijing more. China canceled the economic dialogue with Canberra earlier this year. Remarks come even as Australia and India have announced to conclude a free trade agreement by end of 2022 and work on an interim agreement by December 2021.
Asked about the talks with his Indian counterpart, trade minister Piyush Goyal, Tehan said, “Focus of discussion was on the economic partnership between Australia and India. I think both of us recognize there is a lot more we can do, with regards to the economic partnership. $25 billion doesn’t represent the capacity of our 2 economies to really grow and work with each other to produce the outcomes, that we both need. That was absolutely the focus..”
Both ministers met on Thursday for three hours, after which an announcement on FTA was made. Both the Indian and Australian trade ministers will again meet later this month on the sidelines of the G20 trade ministers in Italy.
Asked about, lower import tariffs on Australian wine, the minister on a lighter note said, “There is nothing I would enjoy more than being able to provide India more with some of Australia’s fine wine. We produce, the best wine in the world and it will be wonderful if Indians can enjoy a little more Australian wine at a more affordable price.”