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Australians are now drinking more Indian coffee, says High Commissioner Philip Green

The flow of Indian agricultural goods into Australia has jumped 16% since ECTA, a bilateral trade deal, came into force a year ago, Green writes in an opinion piece

Australians are now drinking more Indian coffee, says High Commissioner Philip Green
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Australians are now drinking more Indian coffee and buying more of India’s famous sweets, Australian High Commissioner Philip Green wrote in an opinion piece on the first anniversary of the bilateral Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, or ECTA.

The flow of Indian agricultural goods into Australia has jumped by 16% since ECTA came into force on 29 December 2022, Green wrote in the Business Standard, while noting that Australians are now enjoying more Indian rice, grains, vegetables and fruit.

“ECTA means ‘unity’ in Hindi. That is about as good a word as any to describe flourishing Australia-India ties, underpinned by dramatic growth in our economic relationship,” Green said.

In the past year, apparel imports from India are up 9%, meaning Australians are wearing more textiles manufactured in this country, the High Commissioner wrote, adding that industrial imports from India, especially steel tubes, pipes, electrical machinery and parts, have also increased.

“Australia and India’s two-way goods trade has grown by nearly 60% over the last five years. Last year we shipped more than ₹2 trillion worth of goods between our countries,” Green added.

Over 95% of Indian goods now enter Australia completely tariff-free, rising to 100% by 2026, Green wrote, adding that 85% Australian goods enter India without tariffs.

As the next logical step, both countries are now looking ahead to strengthening their relations by signing the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), he added.

“CECA can boost the supply chains for the critical minerals India needs to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles. Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said recently that India was the second most sought-after manufacturing destination in the world. With Australian critical minerals, there’s no reason it can’t be the first,” he added.

Bilateral trade between India and Australia increased to $31.4 billion in 2022 from $22.2 billion in 2021, registering a growth of 41%.

India’s total exports to Australia grew by 38% to $8.7 billion from $6.3 billion in 2021, while  Australia’s exports to India grew 42% to $ 22.5 billion from $15.9 billion in 2021.

India primarily exports refined petroleum, medicines, pearls and gems, jewelry, and made-up textile articles to Australia, while importing coal, confidential trade items, copper ores and concentrates, natural gas, non-ferrous waste and scrap, ferrous waste, scrap, and education-related services.

Green said post-ECTA Indian companies are gaining as Indian goods are eligible for tariff cuts, and 77% are entering Australia through the new tax regime. “This is a much higher figure than most of India’s other FTAs,” he wrote.

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