NEW DELHI: Trade between India and Australia is set to grow without the barriers of tariffs, quotas, subsidies or prohibitions, thanks to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which has recently been signed between the two countries.
Announcing the watershed moment on Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) will unlock the enormous potential of our trade and economic ties and boost businesses on both sides.” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also welcomed the pact and shared on social media that he had accepted Modi’s invitation of visiting India in March.
The agreement would provide duty-free access to Indian exporters in many sectors, including textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery, and machinery in the Australian market.
India’s goods exports to Australia stood at 8.3 billion dollar and imports from the country aggregated to 16.75 billion dollar in 2021-22. Exporters are hoping that this agreement will boost bilateral commerce to 45-50 billion dollar in the next five years.
According to the economic think tank Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), with the signing of the FTA, trade of $23 billion would become duty-free from day one.
Successful clinching of the FTAs with United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia in 2022 is expected to spur Government to negotiate similar agreements with other countries also.
Negotiations are already scheduled for next month with the UK, European Union and Canada when Commerce Ministry officials will meet their counterparts from these three regions.
Recently in Mumbai, at an event to mark the operationalisation of the IndiaAustralia ECTA, Union Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal said that “India today works from a position of strength. We negotiate with confidence.
We will sign at least two such free trade agreements in 2023,” he said. After handing over certificates of origin to the first among the Indian goods being sent to Australia after the agreement, Goyal said the FTA will benefit a slew of sectors, including textiles.
He also added that his ministry does not have the bandwidth to tend to requests by smaller trading partners like New Zealand with which the bilateral trade stands at $350 million dollar.