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Australia-India FTA Approved, will Double Bilateral Trade in Five Years

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Australian Parliament has approved the free trade agreement (FTA) with India which will almost double the two-way commerce between the two countries in about five years. The agreement will come into effect from January next year. After the Mauritius and UAE trade pacts, this was the third agreement India has signed.

Back in April, Australia and India signed their FTA which has now been approved by the Australian Parliament. This agreement will allow for duty-free access to Indian exporters of over 6,000 broad sectors. These sectors include textiles, leather, jewellery, machinery, and furniture. Certain labor-intensive sectors will see significant benefits including textiles and apparel, jewelry, leather, footwear, a few agricultural and fish products, furniture, machinery, electrical goods, and sports goods.

Australia, meanwhile, is offering zero-duty access from day one to India for about 96.4 percent of exports (by value). Currently, products under these categories have a 4-5 percent customs duty in Australia. In 2021-2022, Indian exports to Australia were valued at $8.3 billion USD while the imports were valued at $16.75 billion USD.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal stated that the bilateral trade between the two countries, which is currently at $31 billion USD, will go up to $45-50 billion USD in the next five-six years. He told reporters, “Australia will open 100 percent of their lines (products) with no restriction on even quota. This is the first time Australia has done for any country…We see job opportunities when Australian investment comes here.”

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While there is no fixed date for the implementation of the agreement, official sources have reportedly said it could come into effect from January 1, 2023. The Executive Council of Australia and the Indian President are yet to approve of the agreement.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese shared the news via a tweet along with a picture of him shaking hands with Indian PM Narendra Modi. The Indian PM replied soon after thanking the Australian PM. “Thank you PM @AlboMP! The entry into force of IndAus ECTA will be greatly welcomed by our business communities, and will further strengthen the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” he tweeted.

According to the Australian trade minister, the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) will enter into force 30 days after both parties give confirmation that they have completed their domestic requirements.

Vineet Washington

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