New Delhi, April 2
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) in such a short span of time reflects the depth of the mutual confidence between the two countries.
The process for 'IndAus ECTA' started from September 30, 2021. It was inked on Saturday.
The agreement envisages to enhance trade in goods and services. It paves the way for the two countries to further work towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
Besides, Prime Minister Modi underlined the huge potential that exists in the two economies to fulfil the needs of each other and this agreement will enable the two countries to fully leverage these opportunities. "This is a watershed moment for our bilateral relations," Prime Minister Modi said.
"On the basis of this agreement, together, we will be able to increase the resilience of supply chains, and also contribute to the stability of the Indo-Pacific region."
Terming 'people to people' relations as the key pillar of the relationship between India and Australia, the Prime Minister said: "This agreement will facilitate the exchange of students, professionals, and tourists between us, which will further strengthen these relations."
On Saturday, India and Australia signed the 'IndAus ECTA' in a virtual ceremony. The virtual signing ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.
"'IndAus ECTA' would remove barriers to trade and will open up a plethora of opportunities in both goods and services for both nations," said Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles.
"It is expected that the bilateral trade would grow from the existing $27 billion to nearly $45-50 billion over the next five years. There is huge potential in areas like textiles, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, gem and jewellery and IT amongst others, creating huge employment in both countries."
In the services sector, the minister said that Australia has offered 135 sub-sectors to India, while India offered 103 sub-sectors to Australia.
Furthermore, he said that Australia has committed key areas of India's interest in services like 'Education, IT, Business, Professional Services, Health and Audio-Visual'.
Additionally, Australia will provide 'Post-Study' work visas for students, quota for chefs and yoga instructors and work and holiday visas for young professionals.
Moreover, the agreement is expected to create new employment opportunities in both the countries. "Additional employment generation is expected to be 10 lakh within the next 5 years," the Minister said.
He added that adequate safeguards have been provided in the agreement to prevent circumvention or diversion of goods from any non-party. "Provision for bilateral safeguard measures will protect against sudden surge in import of goods," the Minister said.
"For the first time, a clause is introduced for a special review mechanism which provides for compulsory review after 15 years in a time-bound manner."