The Australian Federal Parliament has been a busy place in the last few days.
First, the Chinese President delivered a speech to a joint sitting of Parliament on Monday, 17 November at much the same time as signing a Declaration of Intent with our Federal Government for the proposed Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China (ChAFTA). This has been covered in a number of places including our own updates.
Then, on Tuesday, 18 November, the Indian PM addressed the same joint sitting of our Parliament following the G20, which was significant given the long period of time which had elapsed since the last time that an Indian PM had addressed our Parliament.
That engagement with India then threw up some interesting outcomes. First, there was the announcement on a defence Treaty with India. The second was our PM announcing a proposed FTA with India within 12 months !
The address by the Indian PM did draw upon the shared history of India and Australia as the products of British Colonial expansion and now with both countries being at the cross – roads of global expansion. As you would expect, the address also drew upon the shared cricketing heritage between the countries.
So, to expand on that concept, the delivery of an Indian FTA in 12 months would be the equivalent of turning a 3 (ChAFTA, KAFTA and JAEPA) into a 4 the FTA with India. Quite an achievement.
Which leaves a question. The other FTA raised the issue of Investor – State Dispute Resolution Provision (yes for ChAFTA and KAFTA, no for JAEPA). But surely for a deal with an Indian FTA, given the cricket metaphor then we don’t need an ISDS but, in its place a third umpire?