New Delhi: Australia’s Parliament passed a bilateral free trade agreement with India on Tuesday. The agreement is critical for Australia to diversify its exports away from the troubled Chinese market and toward India.
The bills easily passed the House of Representatives on Monday and the Senate made them law today, reported by the news agency AP.
“Our Free Trade Agreement with India has passed through parliament,” Australian PM Anthony Albanese tweeted on Tuesday.
BREAKING: Our Free Trade Agreement with India has passed through parliament. (📷 with @narendramodi at the G20) pic.twitter.com/e8iG3gpTgr
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) November 22, 2022
Trade Minister Don Farrell stated that the quality of the agreement demonstrated India’s commitment to the bilateral economic partnership. “Closer economic ties with India are a critical component of the government’s trade diversification strategy,” Farrell said.
Under the Australia-India deal, more than 90 per cent of Australian goods exports will be duty-free, including meat, wool, cotton, seafood, nuts, and avocados and provide zero-duty access to 96 per cent of India’s exports to Australia, including shipments from key sectors such as engineering goods, gems and jewellery, textiles, apparel and leather.
Zero-duty access to Indian goods is set to be expanded to 100 per cent over five years under the agreement.
PM Albanese discussed the deals with PM Modi last week on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
In order to promote the agreement that was inked in April this year, Albanese stated that he would visit India in March next year.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier stated that the pact would help in taking bilateral trade in goods and services from USD 27.5 billion at present to USD 45-50 billion in the next five years.
The statement released by the Australian Parliament said that the pact also ensures that Australia will not be excluded from improved trade and market access which may arise from agreements India subsequently negotiates with other nations.
“The AI-ECTA is not as comprehensive in its scope and coverage as other trade agreements and under-achieves in areas of potential and immediate interest to Australia such as wine. As Australia moves towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, the Committee has noted the importance of improved tariff reductions, greater access to services, and on broader matters like intellectual property, cultural heritage, the environment and labour rights,” the statement further stated.
The deals would come into force 30 days after countries have advised each other in writing that the supporting legislation has been passed by their parliaments.