Post the signing of India -Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) in a virtual ceremony on 2nd April 2022, hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal visited Australia from 6th to 8th April ,2022 along with a delegation of 58 business leaders from India.
The purpose of the visit was to take the ECTA to people and especially to the business communities of both the countries so that they can take the advantage of the said pact. To represent the gem and jewellery sector, delegates from the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) including Mr. Nilesh Kothari, Member, Diamond Panel Committee, Mr. Dilip Shah, Convener, International Exhibitions, Mr. Ashok Seth, Regional Chairman, Northern region and Ms. Rashmi Arora, Assistant Director (Economist), GJEPC joined the delegation along with the CIM.
During the 3 days’ official visit the commerce minister held interactions with business leaders, Indian students, and Indian diaspora and shared with them how both sides can be benefitted from the trade pact.
India-Australia ECTA aims to significantly enhance bilateral trade in goods and services, create new employment opportunities, raise living standards, and improve the general welfare of the people of the two countries.
Day 1 – 6th April 2022 – On the first day of 3 days’ visit, Shri Piyush Goyal paid a visit to the University of Melbourne. He was accompanied by Australia’s Trade Minister Dan Tehan and Allan Myers, Chancellor, University of Melbourne, at the Melbourne Law School in The University of Melbourne. CIM addressed a public conversation and said India and Australia have demonstrated a unity of mind, purpose and a shared commitment to come together certainly we would love to see this relationship grow over the years. The University of Australia welcomes the terms of agreements that focus on students, education and research and found that this interim free trade agreement will open new opportunities for students choosing to live study and work in Australia.
Union Minster also visited the landmark Melbourne Cricket Ground and addressed the Australia-India Chamber of Commerce and Austrade, along with Minister Dan Tehan. He said ECTA will provide duty -free access to a large number of labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, leather, footwear and the gems and jewellery sector along with liberalised visa regime allowing easier movement of professionals. The agreement will provide preferential access to Indian gems and jewellery products in Australia enabling the Australian retailers to procure world-class jewellery crafted with finesse from Indian manufacturers especially the studded gold jewellery.
Minister is hopeful that the interim agreement will boost overall bilateral trade between the two countries from US$27 billion to US$100 billion much faster much faster than initial expectation of rising to $50 billion in five years in the next 5 years. With respect to gem and jewellery sector, trade agreement is expected to enhance bilateral gem and jewellery trade from US$950 million to US$1.5 billion in the coming times.
He later visited the Shiva Vishnu Temple in Melbourne and attended a community event with the Indian Diaspora.
Day 2- 7th April 2022 – The minister had held interactions with students at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. He highlighted the importance of education as a bridge between the two countries and termed the India -Australia ECTA as a ‘natural partnership’. He paid tribute at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the University campus. Later , CIM addressed the Business Leaders Meeting, organised by Business Council of Australia and stressed that the business will be the framework on which all other engagements between the two sides will prosper .He had also emphasized on the need to align standards between the two countries for deeper engagements in Science & Technology, Research & Education .Furthermore , he shared plans of India to set up Invest India Office and Trade Promotion Office in Australia in order to realise the potential of the India -Australia ECTA.
CIM later in the evening had addressed the Emerging Diaspora Business Leaders Reception hosted by India-Australia Business and Community Awards (IABCA) and then attended a community event at the Swaminarayan Temple in Sydney.
Day 3- 8th April 2022 – CIM met with the Australian Agricultural Producers and held talks with Deputy Premier Roger Cook and Ms. Madeline King, Shadow Trade Minister in Perth along with a visit to the Western Australia Cricket Ground (WACA) in Perth. He invited Australian businesses to Make in India and said that the start-ups from both nations must engage with each other and highlighted that the proximity between Western Australia and India provides an opportunity for much deeper economic engagement while addressing the gathering at the Business Luncheon hosted by Deputy Premier Roger Cook.
CIM also attended a Tourism event in conjunction with Tourism Western Australia. During the address, he shared that education should be one of the key focus areas in the partnership between India and Australia and called for further mutual recognition of each other’s education systems, efforts to take technology to students on both sides of the ocean and exploring ways to have dual degrees.
- The India-Australia ECTA is the first trade agreement of India with a developed country after more than a decade.
- The ECTA will enable Australian goods exporters to obtain preferential access to the Indian market with tariff elimination on more than 85 % of Australian goods exports to India. Furthermore, Indian exporters and businesses will benefit as 96 % of all exports will enter Australia duty-free when the agreement comes into force.
- The agreement includes all the labour-intensive sectors of export interest to India such as Gems and Jewellery, Textiles, leather, footwear, furniture, food, and agricultural products, engineering products, medical devices, and Automobiles. On the other hand, India will be offering preferential access to Australia to various tariff lines of export interest to Australia which are primarily raw materials and intermediaries such as coal, mineral ores and wines etc.
- The interim agreement will boost overall bilateral trade between the two countries from US$27 billion to US$100 billion much faster much faster than the initial expectation of rising to $50 billion in five years in the next 5 years. With respect to gem and jewellery sector, trade agreement is expected to enhance bilateral gem and jewellery trade from US$950 million to US$1.5 billion in the coming times.