Big boost to IT sector as Australia clears landmark trade deal with India

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NEW DELHI: In a landmark agreement, the Australian parliament on Tuesday cleared a free trade agreement (FTA) with India.
Briefing the media about the FTA, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said: “It is a landmark moment for Australia & India, would like to congratulate the Prime Ministers of both countries for achieving this significant milestone today.”
These are 2 democracies with shared interests on the world stage, he added.
Goyal also highlighted that this is the first time in Australia’s history, where they are giving 100 per cent tariff lines with most lines on entry into force and 113 lines within a period of 5 years.
The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) needed ratification by the Australian parliament before its implementation. In India, such pacts are approved by the Union Cabinet.
Earlier in the day, Goyal expressed his delight on the FTA and said: “Delighted that India-Australia Economic Cooperation & Trade Agreement has been passed by the Australian Parliament. 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.”

Meanwhile, Australian trade minister Don Farrell in a statement said that the ECTA will enter into force 30 days (or another mutually agreed time) after the respective parties have confirmed in writing that they have completed their domestic requirements.
Farrell added that the agreement will support businesses to grow, to offer more employment opportunities, and will give Australian consumers more choice at the checkout.
He further said that Australia will work closely with the Indian government to implement the trade agreement “as soon as possible”.
Here are the highlights from Goyal’s address:
* ‘IT sector biggest gainer’
Speaking to the media, Piyush Goyal said that the IT sector will be the biggest beneficiaries of the India-Australia FTA as services play a crucial role in such trade pacts.
“Today services constitutes a major part of economies. Our focus during negotiations is both on goods and on services,” Goyal said.
He further added: “I am sure our IT industry will be highly pleased with this big achievement in the form of the agreement.”
* Visa for chefs, yoga instructors
In a first, the India-Australia trade pact will offer visas to Indian chefs and yoga instructors as well.
* Work opportunities for students
The commerce and industry minister also said that under the FTA, there is a commitment that every child who goes from India to study in Australia will get an opportunity to work there, depending on the level of education.
* ‘Win for India’
Stressing on the fact that that the FTA is a win for India, Goyal said that cheaper raw material imports, intermediate goods will help India become more competitive in other markets.
It will also help Indian consumers get goods and services at competitive prices and will help our industries open job opportunities, he added.
“The agreement offers multifarious dimensions and benefits to India, Indian businesses, Indian students, the people of India,” he said.
* ‘Boost for pharma’
The FTA will also provide a big boost to the pharmaceutical industry in India.
Medicines which have gone through rigorous approval process by USA & UK will now have fast tracked mechanism to get approval in the Australian Regulatory system, Goyal noted.
* ‘Opportunities across sectors’
The agreement opens up significant new opportunities across sectors for Indian businesses.
“India’s textiles and gem and jewellery sectors have been keenly waiting for the agreement to be able to sell to high income earners in Australia,” Goyal said.
The agreement, once implemented, will provide duty-free access to the Australian market for over 6,000 broad sectors of India, including textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery and machinery.
Under the pact, Australia is offering zero-duty access to India for about 96.4 per cent of exports (by value) from day one. This covers many products that currently attract 4-5 per cent customs duty in Australia.



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