Australia ratifies free trade agreements with India, UK

Sydney, Australia, Nov 22 (EFE).- The Australian parliament ratified the government’s free trade deals with India and the United Kingdom on Tuesday, clearing the way for greater cross-continental business ties with the two partner countries amid a deepening schism with China.

Governor General David Hurley will have to sign into law the agreements which are crucial for Australia that has suffered the impact of the Chinese tariff measures on several flagship products in the last two years.

Indian and British parliaments need to ratify the pacts before they take effect, Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell told ABC network.

Farrell said he was confident the two partner countries would ratify the bilateral agreements soon.

Bilateral trade between the UK and Australia was about $128 billion in 2020-21.

The FTA with Australia would unlock more trading benefits for the UK that is forging new bilateral trade relations after it exited from the European Union.

Canberra is also negotiating a similar agreement with the EU.

The FTA with the UK, the eighth buyer of goods from the Australia, seeks to eliminate tariffs on 99 percent of Australian exports and cut import duties on many British products.

India, a market of more than 1.3 billion people, believes that the agreement will increase bilateral trade to about $50 billion in the next five years, almost double of the existing level.

The agreement will eliminate tariffs on over 90 percent of Australian goods exports to India by value.

India’s high tariffs on agriculture, like sheepmeat, wool, cotton, seafood, macadamia nuts, and avocados would be removed, with the vast majority, or 85 percent, eliminated from the day the pact enters into force.

India will also substantially reduce its 150 percent tariff on bottled wine above $5 and has guaranteed to extend to Australia any deeper access provided to future free trade agreement partners.

“Closer economic ties with India are a critical component of the government’s trade diversification strategy,” Farrell said.

“India presents unparalleled growth opportunities for Australian business across a range of sectors, from food and agriculture, technology and green energy, to health and education services.”

The FTA between Australia and India was signed in April to promote the development of the Indo-Pacific with increased trade in key textiles, pharma, information technology. EFE


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