Australia signs trade deal with India | Liverpool City Champion
A landmark trade deal with India will ensure Australian exporters access to one of the world’s largest economies, the Prime Minister has said.
The deal, due to be signed on Saturday, will see tariffs lifted on more than 85% of Australian goods exported to India, currently worth more than $12 billion a year.
Meanwhile, 96% of Indian goods entering Australia will be duty free.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said many countries had tried to do business with India, but only Australia had managed to secure a deal.
“We are opening the biggest door to one of the biggest economies in the world,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Saturday.
“It opens up significant opportunities for Australia…whether in berries or wool. Those are all real advantages.
“It’s a good deal and in the interests of Australia and India.”
Commerce Minister Dan Tehan and his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal will sign the agreement in a virtual ceremony on Saturday afternoon.
Under the agreement, tariffs on products such as sheep meat and wool will be eliminated immediately, while tariffs on products such as avocados, onions, nuts and fruits will be phased out over the next seven years.
Tariffs on wine will also be reduced, while the resource sector will see tariffs on goods like coal and metal ores eliminated on entry.
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said while Labor had not been consulted on the deal, it was welcome.
“It’s a very sophisticated economy, they’re world leaders in information technology… manufacturing, pharmaceuticals,” Mr Albanese told reporters on Saturday.
“I look forward to a deepening of this relationship and that would really be the goal of a government that I lead.”
Bilateral trade between Australia and India is currently valued at over $24 billion.
Negotiations on the Australia-India Economic and Trade Cooperation Agreement have been dragging on for more than a decade, with the first round of talks between the countries taking place in 2011.
The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said the deal should be independently assessed.
“As usual, the text is only published after signing and the devil will be in the details,” said AFTINET manager Dr Patricia Ranald.
“There will be no parliamentary control before the elections.”
But Mr Tehan said the deal was a “significant win” for Australian exporters.
“We have access to the largest and fastest growing economy in the world,” he told the ABC on Saturday morning.
“By linking our two economies, it helps to provide significant ballast to the geostrategic competition we see in the Indo-Pacific.
“The more we can link up with India…the better it is for our long-term future and the better it is for stability in the Indo-Pacific.”
The trade deal is also expected to benefit the education and tourism sectors.
Both countries will recognize each other’s professional qualifications, licenses and registration procedures.
Australian service providers in over 30 sectors will be assured of receiving the best treatment from India with respect to any other trade agreement India enters into.
Indian residents will also have new access to working holidays in Australia, with 1,000 places reserved, with the federal government having two years to implement the measure.
Australian Associated Press