India and Australia would now implement the free trade agreement on a mutually agreed date as the Australian Parliament on Tuesday approved the pact between the two countries, an official said on Tuesday.
“BREAKING: Our Free Trade Agreement with India has passed through parliament,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a tweet. 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.
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Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet: “Delighted that India-Australia Economic Cooperation & Trade Agreement has been passed by 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.” Last week, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties of Australia recommended the Australian government to ratify the pact.
After the ratification, both sides will decide a date to implement the pact and customs authorities will also issue a notification a day before the implementation, the official said. The agreement, once implemented, 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 per cent of exports (by value) from day one. This covers many products that currently attract 4-5 per cent customs duty in Australia.
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. India’s goods exports to Australia stood at USD 8.3 billion and imports from the country aggregated to USD 16.75 billion in 2021-22. 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.