Marking the beginning of yet another successful FTA, Union Minister Piyush Goyal flagged off the first consignment under the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) on December 29, 2022 at Mumbai. Dispatchment of consignments under India-Australia ECTA was held simultaneously from Mumbai, Surat and Chennai. Jewellers who are members of the GJEPC exported consignments on December 29, 2022 under India-Australia ECTA include Jewelex India Pvt. Ltd., Venus Jewel and ZenStar, Jewellery from Mumbai, Emerald Jewel Industry India Ltd from from Chennai, Jafarbhai Salehbhai Daginawala from Surat.
Held at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai, the flag-off ceremony had the august presence of Rajesh Agrawal, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce; Monideepa Mukerjee, Director General, PIB, Mumbai; Shyam Jagannathan, Zonal Development Commissioner, SEEPZ, Mumbai; R.K Mishra, Additional DGFT , Mumbai; Tapan Mazumder, Additional DGFT, Vipul Shah, Chairman, GJEPC, Chairmen of Several EPCS, other governmental officials and representatives of media.
The ECTA is effective mainly in four to five sectors, namely gems and jewellery, textile, IT, pharma, engineering and auto components industries. Certificates were handed out to members of the four sectors who would be initiating trade with Australia. From the gem and jewellery sector, Ashish Kothari, director Jewelex India Pvt. Ramniklal Shah, Partner and founder Venus Jewel and Sahil Jain director at ZenStar.
Addressing industry representatives and the media in Mumbai today, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that the Agreement has been “negotiated with the speed of Bret Lee and the perfection of Sachin Tendulkar”. He added “With this agreement with Australia entering into force, that makes it two agreements within a calendar year. It's a matter of great joy and celebration for all of us. There is a lot of potential for exporting finished products to Australia as they're largely a raw material and intermediate producing country. So, it's a complete win-win. Since the production of many goods is in India, it will create immense job opportunities for businesses in both merchandise manufacture and service sector.”
Shyam Jagannathan, (I.A.S) Zonal Development Commissioner, SEEPZ, Mumbai said that the signing of the Indo-Australia ECTA is an opportune moment for accelerating growth in exports from SEZs. It will be instrumental in harnessing the idle capacity in export zones and realising the untapped export potential of gems and jewellery from India. Vipul Shah, Chairman, GJEPC said, “This is yet another commendable achievement by the Government of India that will be instrumental in accelerating growth for Gem & Jewellery sector. The India-Australia ECTA will boost the bilateral gem and jewellery trade to double from the present value of US$ 1.27 billion to US$ 2.5 billion over the next 3 years. 0% duty on jewellery products made up of gold, silver and imitation Jewellery exported to Australia will provide a fillip to these products. An additional trade of US$ 1 billion is likely to generate employment for 88,000 workers in India. While the gem & jewellery products have got free access to Australia, the Govt. has protected the domestic industry by not decreasing import duty on gold/silver/platinum jewellery.” R K Mishra, Additional Director, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said that the swift pace of change in the regulatory environment for international trade is providing a strong tailwind to the export sectors in India.
Indian exports will benefit from preferential zero duty market access in Australia for 100% of its tariff lines, which will benefit India’s labour-intensive sectors such as gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, footwear, furniture, food, and agricultural products, engineering products, medical devices, and automobiles. On the other hand, India has provided preferential access to Australia on over 70% of its tariff lines, which are primarily raw materials and intermediaries such as coal, mineral ores etc., which are required for our domestic manufacturing industry. The negotiation with Australia for an FTA was based on the suggestions and recommendations taken from every stakeholder across the industries.