New Delhi: India and Australia would now implement the free trade agreement on a mutually agreed date as the Australian Parliament approved the pact between the two countries on Tuesday, said a press statement. "The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) needed ratification by the Australian Parliament before its implementation. In India, such pacts are approved by the Union Cabinet. Last week, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties of Australia recommended the Australian government to ratify the pact," said an official statement. With due respect, both the Commerce and Industry Minister and the Australian Prime Minister expressed their happiness in their respective tweets. "BREAKING: Our Free Trade Agreement with India has passed through Parliament," Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a tweet. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet: "Delighted that India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement has been passed by the Australian Parliament. "A result of our deep friendship, it sets the stage for us to unleash the full potential of our trade ties & spur massive economic growth."
Speaking at a function on Tuesday, Goyal said, "Now the Australian government will take approval from their executive council and the ministry from the Union Cabinet here." Goyal added that there will be harmonisation of codes and customs regime so that we can enter into force at an early date. The deal is fair and good for India, he said. The minister also asked the steel industry to take benefit of zero duty in the Australian market and push their exports.
"Once implemented, the agreement will provide duty-free access to the Australian market for over 6,000 broad sectors of India, including textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery and machinery. Under the pact, Australia is offering zero-duty access to India for about 96.4 percent of exports (by value) from day one. This covers many products that currently attract 4-5 percent customs duty in Australia," said Goyal. "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," he added. Goyal had earlier stated that the agreement would help in taking the bilateral trade from USD 27.5 billion at present to USD 45-50 billion in the next five years.
(PSU Watch– India's Business News centre that places the spotlight on PSUs, Bureaucracy, Defence and Public Policy is now on Google News. Click here to follow. Also, join PSU Watch Channel in your Telegram. You may also follow us on Twitter here and stay updated.)