Wed, 30 Nov 2022

Canberra [Australia], November 21 (ANI): An Australian parliamentary committee on treaties has recommended that its government give formal consent to the trade pact, which was signed on April 2, this year, between India and Australia during a virtual ceremony.

This comes shortly after the Committee recommended ratification of the free trade agreement with the United Kingdom, according to the statement released by the Australian Parliament.

Committee Chair, Josh Wilson MP said, "This 'early harvest' agreement with India paves the way for further trade, market access, investment and regulation that requires global cooperation. The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) also ensure that Australia will not be excluded from improved trade and market access which may arise from agreements India subsequently negotiates with other nations."He further said that the AI-ECTA is not as comprehensive in its scope and coverage as other trade agreements and under-achieves in areas of potential and immediate interest to Australia, the statement reads.

"As Australia moves towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, the Committee has noted the importance of improved tariff reductions, greater access to services, and on broader matters like intellectual property, cultural heritage, the environment and labour rights," he added.

The Committee also took the opportunity in this report to express concerns regarding the extent and quality of consultation, transparency of negotiations, and lack of independent modelling and analysis of trade agreements.

After this, the Committee again recommended the Australian Government implement the recommendations made in 'Report 193: Strengthening the Trade Agreement and Treaty-Making Process in Australia'.

IndAus ECTA is set to provide zero-duty access to 96 per cent of India's exports to Australia, including shipments from key sectors such as engineering goods, gems and jewellery, textiles, apparel and leather.

The pact is expected to boost bilateral trade in goods and services to USD 45-50 billion over five years, up from around USD 27 billion, and generate over one million jobs in India, according to a government estimate.

The agreement will also give about 85 per cent of Australia's exports zero-duty access to the Indian market, including coal, sheep meat and wool, and lower-duty access to Australian wines, almonds, lentils, and certain fruits.

Zero-duty access to Indian goods is set to be expanded to 100 per cent over five years under the agreement. (ANI)

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