India free trade gets new year green light


India has ticked off its part of the free trade deal with Australia, setting up the deal to come into effect early in the new year.

Australia’s parliament passed the Indian and British free trade agreements last week, but they must pass respective national processes before coming into force.

The Indian cabinet signed the agreement overnight.

Duties on 90% of Australian products exported to India, including meat, wool, cotton, seafood, tree nuts and avocados, will be removed.

New market access will open from December 29 and a second tranche of tariff reductions will come into effect on January 1.

The cuts are expected to save Australian exporters $2 billion a year, while consumers and businesses will save $500 billion on imported goods.

Trade Minister Don Farrell said the deal’s entry into force before the new year means Australia will benefit from both tariff cuts in quick succession.

“Companies are encouraged to take the lead and prepare now to take advantage of the substantial improvements in Indian market access under the new agreement,” he said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the deal was the next step in improving relations between Australia and India.

“Australia and India are increasingly working together as strategic and economic partners,” he said.

The free trade agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom has also been adopted and is awaiting validation by the British parliament.

It should enter into force at the beginning of 2023 at the latest.

Senator Farrell will also travel to Europe to continue trade negotiations with the European Union.

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