“Watershed moment”, says PM Modi as India & Australia sign momentous trade pact
India and Australia have signed a mega trade pact that will bolster the economic cooperation and trade between the two countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the agreement will enable the two nations two efficiently leverage the existing opportunities completely along with facilitating and supporting the exchange of students, professionals as well as tourists.
The India – Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IndAus ECTA) was signed by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and his Australian counterpart Dan Tehan in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a virtual ceremony.
Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Modi said that the fact that agreement was signed in such a short span of time shows mutual confidence and respect between the nations. “This is a watershed moment for our bilateral relations…On the basis of this agreement, together, we will be able to increase the resilience of supply chains, and also contribute to the stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” PM Modi noted. He shed light on huge potential and vast opportunities present in the two countries that can be beneficial to other.
Mr. Goyal said that the trade agreement will help take up the bilateral trade between countries from $27 billion to $45 – 50 billion in the next five years. Australia has been offering zero duty access to India for about 96.4 per cent of exports (by value). This covers plethora of products that currently attract 4-5 per cent customs duty in Australia. This deal would also be extremely beneficial to labour intensive sectors including textiles and apparel, few agricultural and fish products, leather, footwear, furniture, sports goods, jewellery, machinery, electrical goods, and railway wagons.
Under the agreement, tariffs would be scrapped on sheep meat, wool, copper, coal, alumina, fresh Australian rock lobster, and some critical minerals and non-ferrous metals to India. This will enable 96 per cent of Indian goods imports to enter Australia duty-free.
“This agreement opens a big door into the world’s fastest growing major economy for Australian farmers, manufacturers, producers and so many more,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He added that by unlocking the vast market of around 1.4 billion consumers in India, “we are strengthening the economy and growing jobs right here at home”.
“This agreement has been built on our strong security partnership and our joint efforts in the Quad, which has created the opportunity for our economic relationship to advance to a new level,” he underlined.