India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement passes through Federal Parliament

The agreement will enter into force 30 days after both countries have confirmed with each other in writing that they have completed their respective domestic requirements.

The India-Australia Free Trade Agreement has passed through the Federal Parliament of Australia.

The bill related to the implementation of the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement was introduced on 27th October 2022 and passed today (22 November 2022) in both houses of Parliament

Giving a summary of the bill that was passed the Parliament of Australia websites states,

“Introduced with the Customs Tariff Amendment (India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement Implementation) Bill 2022 to implement Australia’s obligations under the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, the bill amends the Customs Act 1901 to:

introduce rules of origin to determine if goods entering Australia from India are ‘Indian originating goods’;

enable regulations to prescribe certain record-keeping obligations on exporters and producers that export goods to India;

and enable an authorised officer to disclose certain information”

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The Government had earlier welcomed the release of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) Report which recommended that the Australian Government take binding treaty action to bring the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) into force.  

India’s youthful population, economic demand and growth trajectory present unparalleled opportunities for Australian exporters. ECTA capitalises on this by delivering strong, immediate market access outcomes for Australia in goods and services and improved trade facilitation.

Indian High Commissioner to Australia, Manpreet Vohra, thanked Prime Minister Albanese after the Free Trade Agreement was passed in the Parliament.

The Agreement will eliminate tariffs on over 90 per cent of Australian goods exported to India by value. India’s high tariffs on agriculture, such as sheep meat, wool, cotton, seafood, macadamia nuts and avocados will be removed, with the vast majority, or 85 per cent, eliminated from the day ECTA enters into force.

India will also substantially reduce its 150 per cent tariff on bottled wine above $US5 and has guaranteed to extend to Australia any deeper access provided to future free trade agreement partners.

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The Agreement presents an enormous opportunity for Australian services companies and professionals to access the Indian market.

India has guaranteed Australian services suppliers in thirty-one sectors and sub-sectors the best treatment afforded to its future trade agreement partners, benefitting suppliers of higher and adult education, business services, research and development, communications, construction and engineering services, insurance, banking, health services and hospitals, audio-visual, tourism and travel.

Australia and India’s strong people-to-people links will be strengthened through ECTA. New mobility outcomes will support trade and business and contribute to cultural exchange. India’s mobility commitments to Australia are consistent with the best of its existing free trade agreements.

ECTA will enter into force 30 days after both countries have confirmed with each other in writing that they have completed their respective domestic requirements.

The JSCOT report on ECTA can be found here.

Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell said that closer economic ties with India are a critical component of the Government’s trade diversification strategy.

“The quality of this Agreement, in terms of market access and opportunity for Australian businesses, demonstrates India’s commitment to our bilateral economic partnership.”

“India presents unparalleled growth opportunities for Australian business across a range of sectors, from food and agriculture, technology and green energy, to health and education services.”

“I have had a number of positive meetings with my counterpart, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles Shri Piyush Goyal, and continue to engage with him, providing updates on our progress and the expectation we will both be in a position to implement the agreement before the end of the year.”

“This agreement is India’s first free trade agreement with a major developed country in over ten years and provides Australian exporters a valuable advantage in the world’s fastest-growing large economy”,

said Minister Farrell.

Australia India Business Council (AIBC) National Chair, Jodi McKay told The Australia Today,

“This is a significant day. This agreement has been ten years in the making. We now need to ensure that Australia’s enthusiasm for India replicates India’s enthusiasm for Australia and that Australian companies understand the opportunities that this free trade agreement now provides”.

“Australia and India have always been friends but now we are also strategic partners and businesses in both countries will benefit from this agreement. We congratulate the Prime Minister on this historic deal” said Ms McKay.