India has achieved the unique distinction of operationalizing two Trade Agreements this year. After the entry into force of India UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement on May 1 earlier this year, the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (#IndAusECTA) has come into effect from today, i.e., December 29, 2022. The ECTA was signed on April 2, 2022, ratified on November 21, written notifications were exchanged on November 29 and after 30 days, the Agreement has come into force today.
Addressing industry representatives and the media in Mumbai today, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that the Agreement has been “negotiated with the speed of Bret Lee and the perfection of Sachin Tendulkar”.
So, how will the Agreement benefit the countries?
Let us listen to what the Minister has had to say.
“There is a lot of potential for exporting finished goods to Australia, since they hardly manufacture anything, they are largely a raw material and intermediate producing country, we will get cheaper raw materials which will not only make us more competitive globally but also enable us to serve Indian consumers better; enabling us to provide more quality goods at more affordable prices.”
“Australia, which is largely dependent on imports, will benefit hugely, they will soon start seeing a lot more finished goods coming in from India, providing huge amount of work and job opportunities in both goods and services, provided by Indian talent.”
“The Agreement will also eliminate Double taxation on IT services which were making us less competitive and making us less profitable in IT sector, the double taxation has now been removed by amending the law, from 1st April, double taxation for IT sector will be over, we will save millions and millions of dollars right now, and over a billion dollars going forward, maybe 5 – 7 years going forward, giving us competitive edge and also creating a lot many jobs.”
“I appreciate Australian government for being very sensitive and considerate, giving us full cooperation throughout the negotiations, especially in protecting the interests of the farmers and dairy sector of India. Products like agricultural products and dairy sector – which were very sensitive for India and without which Australia has never done an agreement before – have been protected, I am hugely grateful to the Australian government for this.”
Watch the media briefing by the Minister, in full here.
Indian goods on all tariff lines to get access to Australian market with zero customs duty
The Ind-Aus ECTA provides an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade between the two countries. It covers almost all the tariff lines dealt by India and Australia.
India will benefit from preferential market access provided by Australia on 100% of its tariff lines, including all the labor-intensive sectors of export interest to India, such as Gems and Jewellery, Textiles, leather, footwear, furniture, food, and agricultural products, engineering products, medical devices, and Automobiles. On the other hand, India will be offering preferential access to Australia on over 70% of its tariff lines, including lines of export interest to Australia, which are primarily raw materials and intermediaries such as coal, mineral ores, and wines.
As regards trade in services, Australia has offered wide-ranging commitments in around 135 sub-sectors and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status in 120 sub-sectors covering key areas of interest to India.
On the other hand, India has offered market access to Australia in around 103 sub-sectors and Most Favoured Nation status in 31 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors such as ‘business services’, ‘communication services’, ‘construction and related engineering services’, and so on.
Both sides have also agreed to a separate Annex on Pharmaceutical products under this agreement, which will enable fast-track approval for patented, generic, and biosimilar medicines.
It is estimated that an additional 10 lakh jobs would be created in India under ECTA. Indian Yoga teachers and chefs are set to gain with the annual visa quota. Over 1 lakh Indian students would benefit from a post-study work visa (for 18 months to 4 years) under the ECTA. The agreement is also likely to increase investment opportunities, promote exports, create significant additional employment and facilitate strong bonding between the two countries.
Australia is an important strategic partner of India. They are also part of the four-nation QUAD, Trilateral Supply Chain Initiative, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF).
All the necessary notifications required for entry into force of Ind-Aus ECTA on 29.12.2022 have been issued by the Department of Revenue and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade in the Department of Commerce.
A few shipments have been given preferential access certificates by the Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, in Mumbai today.