National Chair of the Australian India Business Council, Jodi McKay, today welcomed the finalisation of the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) as a “watershed moment” in the history of the economic and commercial relationship between the two nations.
Ms McKay said the agreement was the first step toward a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement in 2023.
“The Agreement that comes into force today (December 29th 2022) means that 85% of tariffs on Australian exports to India will be eliminated, with a phasing down of tariffs on an additional 5% of goods.
“Australia is well ahead on the game when it comes to trade with India and we are the envy of many other economies like the UK.
“This will be looked back on as a momentous day with the social and cultural ties between our two nations now joined by a special trade relationship,” Ms McKay said.
Ms McKay, who is in India meeting with key government and business stakeholders, said the AIBC would be working hard throughout 2023 in helping Australian businesses realise the wealth of opportunities that the Agreement has opened up.
“India is our seventh largest trading partner – but with the Australia-India ECTA, India will only grow in importance for Australian exporters.
“Sectors like education, agriculture, wine, critical minerals, pharmaceuticals – all areas where Australia has natural and competitive advantages – will now have greater access to a market of almost 1.5 billion customers.
“The Agreement also opens up opportunities for 1,000 Indian students to come to Australia to undertake post study work with a bonus year for high performing STEM students.
“This will help deepen the people to people links which is such an important aspect of the relationship between India and Australia.
“I’d like to thank the Australian Government, particularly the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Trade Minister Don Farrell and key staff at DFAT for securing this historic agreement and picking up negotiations where the previous Morrison Government had left them.
“I also pay special tribute to the former Prime Minister and Special Envoy to India, Tony Abbott, who did so much to secure this critical agreement.
And finally, I acknowledge our wonderful Indian Australian community. The diaspora is so important in our relationship with India and I look forward to continuing to support their involvement as a “living bridge” between our two nations.
“To have the ECTA in place by the end of the year shows the determination, confidence and positive atmosphere between our two nations in locking in this landmark agreement,” Ms McKay said.
Ravneet Pawha, National Vice-Chair, Australia India Business Council, added, “With its many impactful provisions and significant clauses, ECTA has infused new energy into the India Australia relationship that will pave the way for cooperation across trade, education, and employment.
This visionary deal between the two countries, with its provision of extended post-study work visas, intensifying bilateral research and mutual recognition agreements, will enable students from both countries to realise their full potential.
The agreement will increase investments in both countries, bolster bilateral trade, encourage business growth, foster knowledge exchange, and create new avenues of employment.”