India, Australia Sign Trade Deal; ‘Watershed Moment’, Says PM Modi

| Updated: 02 April, 2022 2:31 pm IST
PM Narendra Modi with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison (file photo)

NEW DELHI: India and Australia on Saturday signed a trade deal to boost bilateral ties and break trade barriers, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling the development a “watershed moment”.

The trade between India and Australia is expected to rise to USD 45 billion from the existing USD 27.5 billion, said Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal while virtually signing the deal, the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, with Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan.

Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India and India is Australia’s 9th largest trading partner. India-Australia bilateral trade for both merchandise and services is valued at US$ 27.5 billion in 2021, as per government data.

Commerce Minister Goyal said that the deal will create new opportunities in both countries, help raise the standard of living, bring prosperity to people and enhance welfare of citizens.

“By initial estimates, we expect the creation of at least 1 million jobs in India in next 4-5 years. We have expanded the scope of our bilateral relations in services also. A number of new opportunities will open for Indian chefs and Yoga instructors,” Goyal told media person after signing the deal here.

India’s merchandise exports to Australia grew 135 per cent between 2019 and 2021, the government said. India’s exports consist primarily of a broad-based basket largely of finished products and were USD 6.9 billion in 2021.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison joined the virtual signing of the agreement.

Speaking on the occasion, PM Modi said, “This is a watershed moment for the bilateral relations between the two countries. In such a short span of time, the signing of this shows strong confidence in each other.”

“In a span of three months, I have met my friend Scott (PM Scott Morrison) thrice. Last week in the virtual summit between us, productive discussions were held. Following the summit, we instructed our teams to conclude the talks on economic cooperation and trade agreement at earliest,” PM Modi stated.

Prime Minister Morrison hailed the deal as “single largest Australian investment in our relationship with India”.

“The pace and scale of our cooperation since we announced our comprehensive, strategic partnership has been remarkable. Some USD 282 million in new initiatives that my government has announced including at the Summit which will drive our expanding cooperation,” he said.

Morrison further stated, “This is the single largest Australian govt investment in our relationship with India but it won’t be the last and now mark another milestone in that relationship. The signing of the IndAus Agreement further develops on the promise of our economic relationship.”

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