Indian workers and students will gain easier access to Australia thanks to a landmark new trade deal that will make some Australians very wealthy.
The agreement will allow some of the 100,000 Indian students in Australia to obtain a four-year visa to work as a tech professional or manager, and will also make it easier for chefs and yoga teachers to move to Down Under.
The comprehensive economic cooperation agreement between Australia and India also means more choices for Australians when it comes to consumer goods such as drugs, clothing and shoes.
Those with the most to gain are miners and farmers who export to India, as Australia seeks to reduce its reliance on the Chinese market and strengthen alliances with other countries in Asia.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) gestures during a virtual leadership summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (unseen)
Moving the other way will be more Indian students, chefs, yoga teachers and youth on working holiday visas, which will reshape both countries.
“It may not be as consumer-oriented (like other trade agreements) but very important for the economic partnership,” Professor Tim Harcourt of the University of Technology, Sydney, told the Daily Mail Australia.
‘It is mainly raw materials and some agriculture. The side of tourism and higher education are (also) growing and are promising areas.’
He said that while China has positioned itself as the world’s factory with a concentration in production in recent decades, India has taken a different path.
“India positioned itself as the world’s lab and call center with a concentration in telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, IT and traditional agriculture and some high-end manufacturing in the automotive and computer sectors,” he said.
The agreement, signed on Saturday after 11 years of negotiations, is expected to increase trade between the two countries from $36.7 billion a year to $60 billion.
Economic tensions with China – where huge tariffs have been imposed on Australian goods such as beef, wine and barley in recent years – helped focus the minds and close the deal with India.
Tariffs will be eliminated on more than 85 percent of Australian goods exported to India and 96 percent of exports the other way.
Although it has already been signed in a virtual ceremony by Commerce Minister Dan Tehan and his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal, it has yet to be ratified by parliament.
With the federal parliament in recess until after next month’s federal election, that could take up to four months regardless of who forms the next government.
Australian wool and sheep exports (pictured) to India will grow under a new trade agreement between the countries
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the deal would help create more opportunities for Australian producers with the country’s seventh largest trading partner.
“This agreement opens a big door to the world’s fastest growing major economy for Australian farmers, manufacturers, producers and more,” he said.
“By unlocking the huge market of approximately 1.4 billion consumers in India, we are strengthening the economy and creating more jobs here at home.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the deal as a “turning point” in the countries’ relationship.
“Based on this agreement, together we will increase the resilience of supply chains and also contribute to the stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
Indian yoga teachers will find it much easier to bring their skills to Australia after a new trade deal is signed. Pictured are yoga practitioners in Amritsar, India
If the deal is approved by both houses of parliament, Australian sheep farmers will be one of the immediate winners, with an immediate abolition of a 30 percent tariff on meat.
Taxes on lobsters, coal, manganese, copper, aluminum oxide, titanium dioxide and rare earth minerals will also be abolished.
Wine, infant formula, some peas and beans, macadamias, avocados, onions, cherries, apricots and strawberries are among the goods whose tariffs will be reduced.
On the other hand, India’s massive pharmaceutical sector is expected to be a big winner with the deal easing Australian regulatory requirements.
The Federation of Indian Export Organizations also expects exporters of clothing, footwear, textiles, leather, gemstones and engineering to Australia to benefit from the agreement.
Once the deal is over, some of Australia’s 100,000 Indian students could get a four-year visa to stay after college while working as tech professionals or managers.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (pictured) speaks during a virtual summit with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
And about 1,800 chefs and yoga teachers also gain easy access to Australia.
Professor Harcourt said allowing a number of Indian students to get a four-year visa after graduation fits in with a long-term goal.
“There’s a view on education that you don’t just go for open mining, which brings students here,” he said.
“With India we also have quite a few joint ventures, research partnerships, because India has quite advanced engineering (skills) and similar language and institutions.”
He added that the trade deal includes “a lot of focus on services (such as education) due to India’s young population.”
Both countries will recognize professional qualifications, licensing and registration procedures and a task force has been set up to focus on education, training and greater opportunities for graduates.
Negotiations on the trade agreement had been underway for more than a decade, with the first round of talks between the countries in 2011.
Commerce Minister Dan Tehan (pictured) said tariffs would be abolished on more than 85 percent of Australian goods exported to India
“This is great news for lobster fishermen in Tasmania, wine producers in South Australia, macadamia farmers in Queensland and key miners in Western Australia,” said Mr Morrison.
“This agreement is based on our strong partnership on security and our joint efforts in the Quad (the security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the US), which has created the opportunity to take our economic relationship to a new level .’
The trade agreement will also benefit the education and tourism sectors.
Australian service providers in more than 30 sectors will be assured of the best treatment from India with regard to all other trade agreements entered into by India.
Residents of India will also gain new access to working holidays in Australia, with 1,000 reserved seats, with the federal government having two years to implement the measure.
Australia-India ties used to be known as the three Cs – cricket, curry and commonwealth – but the new trade deal shows that those days are long gone.
TRADE AUSTRALI-INDIA – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement is expected to boost Australian exports to India in the coming years.
There are 1.4 billion consumers in India.
Once the deal is in place, tariffs on Australian sheepmeat exports will be cut by 30 percent. Australian mutton already accounts for 20 percent of the Indian market.
Australian wine producers will see the rate drop from 150 percent to 75 to 100 percent.
The deal will immediately cut tariffs on Australian rock lobsters.
The rates for fresh products will be lifted ‘after a while’.
Tariffs on Australian mineral resources, including coal, alumina, manganese, copper, nickel, titanium and zirconium, will be scrapped immediately.
The deal will allow approximately 1,000 Indians per year to participate in the Work and Holiday Maker program.
Up to 96 percent of Indian goods entering Australia are duty-free.
Australia and India began discussing the deal more than 10 years ago in 2011.