‘Historic’ trade agreement with India signed after decade of negotiations

Australia and India have signed a major interim free-trade deal hailed as a significant step in diversifying export markets and reducing Australia’s economic dependence on China.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison touted the deal as “one of the biggest economic doors” available to open.

“We are opening the biggest door of one of the biggest economies in the world in India,” Mr Morrison said ahead of the signing.

The interim Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement was signed in a virtual ceremony by Trade Minister Dan Tehan and his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal, and witnessed by prime ministers Scott Morrison and Narendra Modi.

The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement was signed over a livestreamed virtual meeting.(ABC)

“We are very confident that this deal will see our two-way trade, the trade between our nations, double in the coming years,” Mr Tehan said at the virtual event.

Mr Goyal celebrated the agreement, saying it was a “natural” partnership.

“India and Australia are natural partners. Like two brothers, both nations supported each other during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our relationship rests on the pillars of trust and reliability,” Mr Goyal said.

Morrison, wearing a suit, looks down upon a table full of wool, holding a piece afar to inspect it.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke of the agreement with wool growers in Tasmania the morning of the signing.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

The trade deal cuts tariffs on a range of Australian exports to India, including coal, lentils, sheepmeat and wool, lobster and rare earths.

It also includes a phased reduction of tariffs on wine and a host of other agricultural products including avocados, cherries, nuts, blueberries, almonds, oranges, mandarins, pears and strawberries.

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