The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), which could double bilateral trade to almost $50 billion in the next five years, was put into force on Thursday, December 29. The agreement was in the works for over 18 months. Calling the ECTA a "labour of love" and a "complete win-win", Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal said India would now receive cheaper raw materials helping the nation sell more competitive goods to the global market.
The ECTA gives Indian exporters duty-free access to thousands of domestic goods in the Australian market in over 6,000 broad sectors, including textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery and machinery. It is being called the Unity Agreement across Australia, Goyal said at the press conference in Mumbai.
Australia has committed to providing duty-free access to India for 100 percent of its tariff lines. This will make goods coming into Australia from India cheaper than those imported from other nations.
India will get access to 98.3 percent of tariff lines starting today and the remaining 1.7 percent in a phased manner over the next five years. Australia has also made commitments in 135 sub-sectors with most-favoured-nation (MFN) status in around 120 sub-sectors. Indian exporters will enjoy greater duty concessions than those in China, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
agreement is expected to bring immediate progress in India's labour-intensive sectors, which will see a removal of 4-5 percent import duty. It is estimated to create 40,000 additional jobs in the Indian textile sector and bring increased mobility for Indian working professionals in 11 sectors, Australian ambassador to India Barry O'Farrell said.
The ECTA will also open up a new category of 4-year visas for investors, issue 1,800 new visas to Indian chefs and yoga instructors and also grant students work opportunities after their education.
"ECTA will unlock the enormous potential in our trading relationship," O'Farrell tweeted.
India, too, is making commitments in 103 service sub-sectors with MFN status in 31 sub-sectors. Australia will get duty-free access to 40.3 percent of tariff lines from today and the remaining 30 percent in a phased manner.