Port Wings News Network:
With growing complementarity between the economic priorities of the two nations, India and Australia, democracies at two ends of the Indian Ocean, signed the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) on April 2, 2022, marking a major step towards lifting their economic relationship to the next level.
To be followed by a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) by year-end and early next year, this will be one of the fastest agreements to be concluded by either of the countries. One of the most important trade agreements of the Indo-Pacific region, the agreement will open new pathways for greater cooperation between the two countries in the economic space and will be instrumental in developing and expanding bilateral trade.
The CEPA will open vistas of opportunity of trade, both of goods and services, besides investment between India and Australia. Australia is at present India’s largest export destination in the Oceania region and is amongst the top 15 export destinations, added President, FIEO. Our exports to Australia have been very encouraging in the past. India’s exports to the country have already reached USD 7.4 Bn during April-February 2022 – a growth of more than 100% from the same period last year.
Complimenting and expressing his gratitude to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for finally bringing the long negotiations on firm closure and signing ECTA, Dr A Sakthivel, President, FIEO said that such a comprehensive agreement bespeaks of the enormous trust and confidence between the top leadership of the two countries and will further enhance economic relations and partnership between the two countries. FIEO Chief also thanked the Hon’ble Commerce & Industry Minister for proactively leading the negotiations.
This agreement will be a win-win for both sides, as it will give a boost to India’s labour-intensive manufacturing sector, with a considerable advantage to the pharma, apparel & textile, engineering, automobile & auto components, gemstone and jewellery sectors. Indian students in Australia will find easier access to employment, and there will be greater ease of visa for a range of skilled human capital from India in demand in Australia. This will also help in boosting tourism traffic in both countries.
We will be gaining much market share as we will now have a level playing field with many competitors who have signed FTAs with Australia earlier, said Dr Sakthivel.
For India, the timing of the agreement holds significance as it shows India’s commitment towards building deeper engagements with Australia which is an important member of Quad. India will also be focusing on presenting itself as a potential alternate market for Australia. For Australia the agreement will open them to a much-needed alternate supplying market that is reliable and has the capacity to cater to their import needs for a variety of sectors.