India and Australia to sign provisional free trade agreement on Saturday

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Canberra: After years of negotiations, Australia and India will sign an interim free trade agreement on Saturday that will eliminate 85% tariffs on Australian goods exports to India.

The India deal unlocks a market of nearly 1.4 billion consumers and would strengthen Australia’s economy.

“This agreement opens a big door into the world’s fastest growing major economy for Australian farmers, manufacturers, growers and many more,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.

The economic and trade cooperation agreement between Australia and India will be signed in a virtual ceremony on Saturday by Trade Minister Dan Tehan and India’s Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, the official said. Australia in a statement on Friday evening.

Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will witness the signing of the interim agreement, and the two countries will continue to work towards a comprehensive free trade agreement.

“After more than a decade of protracted negotiations, Australia and India will sign an interim free trade agreement on Saturday. It is a more comprehensive deal than some had expected and it will be registered with the WTO as a full Free Trade Agreement (FTA),” tweeted Stephen Dziedzic, Foreign Affairs (Asia-Pacific) reporter, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, based in Parliament, Canberra.

The Australian government has said the deal will eliminate tariffs on more than 85% of Australian goods exports to India, rising to nearly 91% over 10 years.

The Australian government highlights the benefits for a wide range of growers. He said tariffs will be eliminated on a number of Australian products, including mutton, wool, fresh crawfish and certain metal ores.

Tariffs will be reduced to zero more gradually for other Australian exports, for example avocados, nuts, several beans, cherries and a multitude of berries. Meanwhile, tariffs have been reduced (not eliminated) for Australian wine.

But some key sectors are still excluded. Australia has refused to back down on waiving the labor market test.

“Again, not a huge surprise. The government instead unveiled modest ‘labour mobility’ measures for Indian graduates,” Dziedzic said.

“This includes opening up 1,000 working holiday visas to Indian backpackers. The government will also allow India’s top graduates in IT, engineering, maths and science to stay in Australia for a bit longer after graduation,” Dziedzic added.

However, Australia has been unable to convince India to remove barriers to Australian products in sensitive sectors including chickpeas and dairy – they are excluded.

“This agreement was built on our strong security partnership and our joint efforts in the Quad, which created the opportunity for our economic relationship to move to a new level,” Morrison said, referring to the security grouping of India, Australia, United States. United States and Japan.

Canberra exported A$19.3 billion worth of goods to India in 2021, accounting for 4.2% of Australia’s total exports.


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