In what is being viewed as a win-win deal for both the countries, India and Australia inked a key pact on Saturday to boost economic ties in an attempt to "break the trade barriers". The bilateral trade between the two countries is expected to rise from existing 27 billion USD to 45 billion USD in the next five years, union minister Piyush Goyal said as he signed the deal with Australian trade minister Dan Tehan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison attended the virtual event. "India-Australia partnership has been going from strength to strength. Our exports to Australia have grown the highest in the last 12 months. We are looking forward to taking the speed of negotiations forward," Piyush Goyal said.
Here are top points on the India-Australia trade deal:
1. "Consensus on such an important agreement in such a short period of time shows the mutual trust between the two countries. This is truly a watershed moment for our bilateral relations," PM Modi said on Saturday. This is the third time in the last few weeks that he met Australia's Morrison virtually.
2. Speaking at the event, Morrison said: "The pace and scale of our cooperation since we announced our comprehensive, strategic partnership has been remarkable. Some USD 282 million in new initiatives my government has announced including at the summit which will drive our expanding cooperation."
3. Soon after the deal was signed, Piyush Goyal tweeted: "After the momentous India-UAE CEPA, India & Australia walk the talk and sign the historic Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement. We are opening new gateways for our businesses and people to take the fast-lane to greater prosperity. (sic)."
4. Growing India-Australia economic and commercial relations "contribute to the stability and strength of a rapidly diversifying and deepening relationship between the two countries," a government statement read on Friday.
5. The IndAus ECTA, encompassing trade in goods and services, "is a balanced and equitable trade agreement, which will further cement the already deep, close and strategic relations between the two countries and will significantly enhance the bilateral trade in goods and services, create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and improve the general welfare of the peoples of the two countries," it further said.
6. The new pact, according to news agency Reuters, removes tariffs on more than 85 per cent of Australian goods exports to India, worth A$12.6 billion, rising to almost 91 per cent over 10 years.
7. Tariffs will be scrapped on sheep meat, wool, copper, coal, alumina, fresh Australian rock lobster, and some critical minerals and non-ferrous metals to India. It will see 96 per cent of Indian goods imports enter Australia duty-free, Reuters reported.
8. Ahead of the inking of the trade deal, the Australian prime minister had said it represented "one of the biggest economic doors there is to open in the world today".
9. The deal has been signed just ahead of the Morrison government calling the next general election.
10. The agreement will be notified to the World Trade Organization, indicating it has the legal status of a full free trade deal.