Australia & India New Trade Deal

Australia signs an historic trade agreement with India, the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI ECTA), making Australian exports to India cheaper and creating huge new opportunities for workers and businesses.

Tariffs will be eliminated on more than 85 per cent of Australian goods exports to India (valued at more than $12.6 billion a year), rising to almost 91 per cent (valued at $13.4 billion) over 10 years.

Australian households and businesses will also benefit, with 96 per cent of Indian goods imports entering Australia duty-free on entry into force.

India is the world’s largest democracy and the world’s fastest-growing major economy, with GDP projected to grow at nine per cent in 2021-22 and 2022-23 and 7.1 per cent in 2023-24.

In 2020, India was Australia’s seventh largest trading partner, with two-way trade valued at $24.3 billion, and sixth largest goods and services export market, valued at $16.9 billion. Australian Government’s goal is to lift India into our top three export markets by 2035, and to make India the third largest destination in Asia for outward Australian investment.

This agreement opens a big door into the world’s fastest growing major economy for Australian farmers, manufacturers, producers and so many more. There is huge market of around 1.3 billion consumers in India, we are strengthening the economy and growing jobs right here at home.

“This is great news for lobster fishers in Tasmania, wine producers in South Australia, macadamia farmers in Queensland, critical minerals miners in Western Australia, lamb farmers from New South Wales, wool producers from Victoria and metallic ore producers from the Northern Territory”

“Benefits of AI ECTA” include:

  • Sheep meat tariffs of 30 per cent will be eliminated on entry into force, providing a boost for Australian exports that already command nearly 20 per cent of India’s market
  • Wool will have the current 2.5 per cent tariffs eliminated on entry into force, supporting Australia’s second-largest market for wool products.
  • Tariffs on Wine with a minimum import price of US$5 per bottle will be reduced from 150 per cent to 100 per cent on entry into force and subsequently to 50 per cent over 10 years (based on Indian wholesale price index for wine).
  • Tariffs on Wine bottles with minimum import price of US$15 will be reduced from 150 per cent to 75 per cent on entry into force and subsequently to 25 per cent over 10 years (based on Indian wholesale price index for wine).
  • Tariffs up to 30 per cent on avocados, onions, broad, kidney and adzuki beans, cherries, shelled pistachios, macadamias, cashews in-shell, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants will be eliminated over seven years.
  • Tariffs on almonds, lentils, oranges, mandarins, pears, apricots and strawberries will be reduced, improving opportunities for Australia’s horticulture industry to supply India’s growing food demand.
  • The resources sector will benefit from the elimination of tariffs on entry into force for coal, alumina, metallic ores, including manganese, copper and nickel; and critical minerals including titanium and zirconium.
  • LNG tariffs will be bound at 0 per cent at entry into force.
  • Tariffs on pharmaceutical products and certain medical devices will be eliminated over five and seven years.
  • New Market for Australian trade restricted products by China which includes lobster, cotton, barley, copper and timber products

AI ECTA would also further strengthen the people-to-people links between our countries. India was Australia’s third largest market for services exports in 2020. This agreement will turbocharge our close, long-standing, and highly complementary economic relationship in areas such as critical minerals, professional services, education and tourism. It will create new opportunities for jobs and businesses in both countries, while laying the foundations for a full free trade agreement.”

Both countries will facilitate the recognition of professional qualifications, licensing, and registration procedures between professional services bodies in both countries.

Australian services suppliers in 31 sectors and sub-sectors will be guaranteed to receive the best treatment accorded by India to any future free trade agreement partner, including in: higher education and adult education; business services (tax, medical and dental, architectural, and urban planning; research and development; communication, construction, and engineering; insurance and banking; hospital; audio-visual; and tourism and travel.

Australia will also provide new access for young Indians to participate in working holidays in Australia. Places in Australia’s Work and Holiday program will be set at 1,000 per year and Australia will have two years to implement the outcome. This is expected to contribute to both workforce requirements and to boost tourism to support our post-COVID recovery.

In a boost to our STEM and IT workforces, the length of stay for an Indian Student with a bachelor’s degree with first class honours will be extended from two to three years post study in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors.

Australia and India have also agreed to undertake cooperation to promote agricultural trade as part of the agreement and will now work toward concluding an enhanced agricultural Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The Australian Government has invested $280 million to further grow our economic relationship and support jobs and businesses in both countries, that includes:

  • $35.7 million to support cooperation on research, production and commercialisation of clean technologies, critical minerals and energy;
  • $25.2 million to deepen space cooperation with India and
  • $28.1 million to launch a Centre for Australia-India Relations.

“Benefits for Australian Importers” from India include:

  • Technology & IT Services provides large tech resources pool with specialised talent and skilled personal. India has several low-cost product-based Software as a Service (SaaS) and Australia can also serve as the ideal market for Indian start-ups to scale up before launch in USA.
  • Leather & Footwear with elimination of duty, Australia importers have access to the more quality leather or leather products including footwear. 
  • Textiles with no duty, the Australian market has potential for home textiles like bed & bath linen, toilet & kitchen linen, curtain, pillow covers, quilts & comforters, cotton bags, readymade garments, carpets & flooring etc.
  • Engineering products with elimination of 5% tariff, Australia has access to low value flat and value adder iron and steel products, scientific and medical instruments, parts, transport equipment, non-electrical and electrical machinery etc
  • Healthcare have access to Indian secondary and tertiary care facilities, partnership using Australia medical technologies with low-cost manufacturing solutions
  • Other industries are gems & jewellery, furniture, agricultural products, medical devices and automobiles 

AI ECTA is an interim agreement and both countries continue to work towards a full Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

AI ECTA will be legislated before coming into force at the Australian Federal Parliament and similarly in Indian Parliament. Once the domestic procedure is passed in both countries, each country will provide the other with confirmation of the same completion through an exchange of diplomatic notes, and the agreement will enter into force 30 days later, or on any other date that is mutually agree.

For more information, please contact your local Accru office or we can connect you to our affiliated Indian office in New Delhi or in any other states of India.

About the Author
Vindran Vengadasalam
Vindran started his career in Singapore, where he worked for a CPA firm in audit services for six years after completing his degree. He joined Accru Felsers in June 2006 and was promoted to partner after twelve years with the firm.
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