Australia on Tuesday, November 22 cleared the free trade agreement (FTA) with India as its Parliament has approved the pact. Taking to Twitter, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: “BREAKING: Our Free Trade Agreement with India has passed through Parliament.” The pact is likely to be implemented on a mutually agreeable date.According to Australian law, the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) needs ratification by that country’s parliament before its implementation. The pact will enable duty-free access for Australian products in India in sectors like textiles, leather goods, jewellery, etc.Union Commerce and Textiles Minister Piyush Goyal reacted to the development by tweeting: “Delighted that India-Australia Economic Cooperation & Trade Agreement has been passed by Australian Parliament. A result of our deep friendship, it sets the stage for us to unleash the full potential of our trade ties and spur massive economic growth.”Australia on its part would offer zero duty access to Indian products, which currently attract customs duty to the tune of 4 to 5 per cent in that country.Goyal on Tuesday said that under the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (Ind-Aus ECTA), duties on 100 per cent tariff lines would be eliminated by Australia. Addressing a press conference, Goyal said that the agreement will come into force soon on a mutually convenient date once both the sides have completed their domestic processes.He said that the ECTA would give a big boost to several sectors of the economy, especially textiles, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals. As many as 10 lakh jobs are estimated to be created as a result of the ECTA.Goyal noted that the agreement would also open new opportunities for the service sector in India and would immensely benefit students by offering them an opportunity to work in Australia. In fact, he informed that an annual visa quota of 1,800 is to be instituted for Indian yoga teachers and chefs.The ECTA provides for an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade between the two countries. It is expected that with this agreement, the total bilateral trade will cross $45-50 billion in five years from the existing $31 billion.

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