The Indian diaspora in Australia holds significant electoral power and are seeing the importance of their role in the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), said Jodi McKay, National Chair of the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) on Monday.
The agreement which was put into force on December 29, is expected to bring immediate progress in India's labour-intensive sectors. It specifies an increase to about $45 billion over the next five years, McKay said, speaking to CNBC-TV18.
"Indian Diaspora in Australia is very excited and energised about the agreement. I think they now see the importance of their role in this agreement as well."
"If you look at our diaspora, we have about a million Indian Australians and that's a population of 25 million. So they wield significant power electorally as well. But all of them want this agreement to work and while they perhaps weren't involved in the lobbying for it, I would strongly suspect that on this side, particularly in the decisions that Prime Minister Modi made the size of our diaspora, the power of our diaspora, certainly played a part in this agreement."
McKay said that some negotiations are still going on for the CECA Agreement which is the second stage of the agreement. The Indian side has the enthusiasm and awareness but Australian government is yet to work on it.
"So the agreement specifies an increase to about $45 billion over the next five years. So the trade is currently at $17 billion.27 billion dollars. But I think, you know, Piyush Goyal wanted it to achieve by 2030, a 100 billion. So that's quite ambitious."
"There's still some negotiation going on now on the seeker agreement, which is the second stage of the Free trade agreement. But I think that while the framework is there, it really does require business to now step up and realize the opportunities, which is one of the reasons why we're here in India, we're talking about the free trade agreement, we're talking about the sectors that benefit and we're talking about the opportunities now between both countries."
Through the CECA, the two countries are seeking for reduction in tariffs, and tariffs quotas, and increase the opportunities for young students across sectors of mutual interest, the AIBC national chair told CNBC TV-18.
"We're talking about a reduction and we're also talking about quotas, tariff quotas. But I think the important thing in all this is that the opportunities now across a range of sectors and it's not just tariffs that we're talking about. We are actually talking about agreements under a strategic cooperation agreement that India and Australia have reached and that includes sectors of mutual interest, it includes mutual recognition of qualifications, it includes how we increase the opportunity for Indian students in Australia," McKay said.
Watch the accompanying video for more