India and Australia would now implement the free trade agreement on a mutually agreed date as the Australian Parliament on today=approved the pact between the two countries. “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.
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet: “Delighted that India-Australia Economic Cooperation & 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 here on Tuesday, Piyush Goyal said that now the Australian government will take approval from their executive council and the ministry from the Union Cabinet here.
These approvals, he said, is “very much doable” quickly.
Piyush Goyal added that after then 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 asked the steel industry to take benefit of zero duty in the Australian market and push their exports.
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 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 $8.3 billion and imports from the country aggregated to $16.75 billion in 2021-22.
Piyush Goyal had earlier stated that the agreement would help in taking the bilateral trade from $27.5 billion at present to $45-50 billion in the next five years.