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India and Australia agree upon Free Trade Agreement

India-Australia FTA: India and Australia would now execute the free trade agreement on a mutually agreed-upon date after the Australian Parliament approved the treaty between the two countries, an official said on Tuesday.

“BREAKING: Our Free Trade Agreement with India has passed through parliament,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a tweet.

The Australian parliament had to ratify the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) before it could go into effect. Such agreements are given the Union Cabinet’s blessing in India.

“Delighted that the India-Australia Economic Cooperation & Trade Agreement has been ratified by the Australian Parliament,” tweeted commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal.

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“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.” Last week, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties of Australia recommended the Australian government to ratify the pact.

The official stated that upon ratification, the parties will settle on a date for the agreement’s implementation. A day before that day, the customs officials will also issue a notification.

Once the deal is put into effect, more than 6,000 diverse industries from India, including textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery, and machinery, would have duty-free access to the Australian market.

According to the agreement, Australia will grant zero-duty access to India starting on day one for roughly 96.4% of exports (by value). This applies to a wide range of goods that are now subject to a 4%–5% customs charge in Australia.

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Textiles and clothes, a few agricultural and seafood products, leather goods, furniture, sporting goods, jewellery, machinery, electrical items, and railroad trains are all labor-intensive industries that would greatly benefit.

In 2021–2022, India’s exports of goods to Australia totaled USD 8.3 billion, while its imports totaled USD 16.75 billion. Goyal had previously said that the pact will assist to increase bilateral trade from the current $27.5 billion to between USD 45 and 50 billion over the following five years.

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