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Cheaper exports: Australia to sign $12.6 billion trade deal with India

Australian wool, wine and sheep meat will be significantly cheaper in India as part of a $12.6 billion free trade deal that ties the two countries economically closer as they confront the rise of China and Russia as strategic adversaries.

The economic agreement will strip tariffs off 96 per cent of Indian imports into Australia and 85 per cent of Australian exports, rising to 91 per cent over the next decade.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will witness the signing of the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement on Saturday, watching via video as Trade Minister Dan Tehan and India’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal sign it virtually. It is not the final free trade deal, with both countries committed to signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in the future.

Negotiations on the deal have continued for years but accelerated last year after both prime ministers made it a priority to complete. Australia has been looking to diversify its export markets away from China after the Asian superpower launched a collection of trade strikes on Australian products in retaliation for what it saw as a series of slights.

“This agreement opens a big door into the world’s fastest-growing major economy for Australian farmers, manufacturers, producers and so many more,” Mr Morrison said ahead of the deal being signed.

“By unlocking the huge market of around 1.4 billion consumers in India, we are strengthening the economy and growing jobs right here at home.

“This is great news for lobster fishers in Tasmania, wine producers in South Australia, macadamia farmers in Queensland, critical minerals miners in Western Australia, lamb farmers from NSW, wool producers from Victoria and metallic ore producers from the Northern Territory.”

Australia, the United States and Japan have been working to bring India closer in response to the rise of China, but the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue has struggled recently to reach a consensus on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. India has been careful not to condemn the invasion and has been working with Russia on financial trade options.


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