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Australia signing trade deal with India

A historic trade deal with India will ensure Australian exporters have access to one of the world’s largest economies, the prime minister says.

The deal, to be signed on Saturday, will see tariffs eliminated on more than 85 per cent of Australian goods exported to India, currently worth more than $12 billion a year.

Meanwhile, 96 per cent of Indian goods entering Australia will be duty-free.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said many countries have tried to do business with India, but only Australia has been able to secure an agreement.

“We are opening the biggest door to one of the biggest economies in the world,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Saturday.

“It unlocks significant opportunities for Australia… whether it’s in berries or whether it’s in wool. They’re all real benefits.

“This is a sensible and great deal in Australia’s interests and India’s interests.”

Trade Minister Dan Tehan and his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal will sign off on the deal in a virtual ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

Two-way trade between Australia and India is currently valued at more than $24 billion.

Negotiations on the Australian-India economic cooperation and trade agreement had been ongoing for more than a decade, with the first round of talks between the countries taking place in 2011.

As part of the deal, tariffs on products such as sheep meat and wool will be eliminated straight away, while tariffs for products like avocados, onions, nuts and fruits will be phased out over the next seven years.

Tariffs on wine will also be be reduced, while the resources sector will see tariffs on products like coal and metallic ores eliminated on entry.

“It is a significant win for our exporters,” Trade Minister Dan Tehan told the ABC on Saturday morning. “We get access to the largest, fastest growing economy in the world.

“By tying our two economies together, it does help provide an important ballast for the geo-strategic competition we are seeing in the Indo-Pacific.

“The more we can tie ourselves with India… the better for our long-term future and the better for stability in the Indo-Pacific.”

The trade deal is also set to benefit the education and tourism sectors.

Both countries will recognise each other’s professional qualifications, licensing and registration procedures.

Australian services suppliers across more than 30 sectors will be assured of receiving the best treatment by India in relation to any other trade deal India enters into.

Indian residents will also have new access to working holidays in Australia, having 1000 places set aside, with the federal government having two years to implement the measure.

“This is an important part of the arrangement,” Mr Morrison said. “We need more people with skills in this country to support the economy that we aspire to.”

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