Kolkata: The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, signed in April this year, is the most strategic pact between the two countries that will bolster bilateral ties, Consul General of Australia in Kolkata Rowan Ainsworth said.
Speaking at an interactive session organised by the Engineering Exports Promotion Council (EEPC) and Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce (IACC) here on Wednesday, Ainsworth said the agreement will provide preferential market access for Indian goods in Australia.
“The pact is a major milestone in building stronger economic ties with India,” the envoy said.
She said that according to the pact, India needs to eliminate 96 tariff lines for goods imported from Australia, while Australia needs to eliminate 85 per cent tariff lines on imports from India.
Ainsworth also said tariffs will be eliminated in the mineral sector, making way for competitive rates on Australian imports.
Australia trades in about 6,500 tariff lines, while India has over 11,500 tariff lines.
The IndAus ECTA was inked by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan in a virtual ceremony, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.
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Under the pact, Australia would provide duty-free access in its market for over 6,000 broad sectors of India, including textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery and machinery.
Goyal had said the agreement would help in taking bilateral trade from USD 27.5 billion at present to USD 45-50 billion in the next five years.
Chairman of EEPC India Arun Kumar Garodia said the pact will generate employment opportunities for around 10 lakh people over the next few years.
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