India and Australia on Saturday inked the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement in a virtual ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, commerce minister Piyush Goyal and his counterpart Dan Tehan. The move, signed through the interim agreement, will benefit Indian exporters from over 6,000 broad sectors, including textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery and machinery. The pact was inked as India and Australia relations went for 10 years in the making.
“Consensus on such an important agreement in such a short period of time shows the mutual trust between the two countries. This is truly a watershed moment for our bilateral relations,” said PM Modi after signing of the deal.
“There is great potential between our two economies to fulfill each other’s needs. With this agreement, we will be able to benefit from opportunities. On the basis of this agreement, together we will be able to contribute to increasing supply chains resilience and stability of Indo-Pacific region,” he added.
#IndAusECTA is a landmark moment in the 🇦🇺🇮🇳 partnership. Sincere thanks to colleagues at 🇮🇳 @CimGOI and @MEAIndia for their hard work with their 🇦🇺 @dfat counterparts to deliver the 🇦🇺🇮🇳 Economic Cooperation & Trade Agreement. @DanTehanWannon @PiyushGoyal #dosti pic.twitter.com/KktgqAm9ZN
— Barry O’Farrell AO (@AusHCIndia) April 2, 2022
Speaking on the occasion, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the trade pact signed with India will further “deepen our close ties.” “The pace and scale of our cooperation since we announced our comprehensive, strategic partnership has been remarkable. The $282 million in new initiatives that my government has announced including at the summit will drive our expanding cooperation,” he said.
Morrison said Saturday’s deal was the single largest Australian investment in India but this will not be the last. “The signing of the IndAus Agreement further develops on the promise of our economic relationship,” he said.
Noting that the IndAus ECTA symbolises the unity and the deep bonds between people of both the countries, Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal, addressing a press conference later, said, “It is a historic day for our ties and is the first agreement India has entered with a large developed economy in a decade.”
“We expect one million jobs creation in India in next four to five years. A number of new opportunities will open for Indian chefs and yoga instructors in the time to come. We have also discussed the cooperation of education institutions between India and Australia,” he added.
The agreement will help in taking bilateral trade from USD 27 billion to USD 45-50 billion in the next five years, Goyal said. Australia is offering zero duty access to India for about 96.4 per cent of exports (by value) from day one. This covers many products which currently attract 4-5 per cent customs duty in Australia.
Labour intensive sectors which would gain immensely include textiles and apparel, few agricultural and fish products, leather, footwear, furniture, sports goods, jewellery, machinery, electrical goods and railway wagons. Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India, while New Delhi is Canberra’s 9th largest partner. Bilateral trade in goods and services stood at USD 27.5 billion in 2021.
India’s goods exports were worth USD 6.9 billion and imports aggregated to USD 15.1 billion in 2021. Major exports by India to Australia include petroleum products, textiles and apparels, engineering goods, leather, chemicals and gems and jewellery.
Imports mainly include raw materials, coal, minerals and intermediate goods.
(With PTI inputs)