India's Exports to Australia Grow 14% After Trade Pact Comes into Force

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog02-01-2024

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NEW DELHI India's exports to Australia rose by 14% on an annualized basis to $5.87 billion29 in the first eight months (April-November) of the current fiscal year due to a favorable trade deal that came into effect in December a year ago, opening up new markets for Indian gold jewelry, apparel, and tractor bodies, among other products.

However, India's imports from Australia declined by 19% on an annualized basis to $11.15 billion during April-November 2023, largely due to lower demand for coal, coke, and briquettes.The available detailed data for April-October 2023 shows that compared to $9.75 billion in April-October 2022, imports from Australia of coal, coke Coal, coke, and briquettes imports from Australia fell 37 percent to $6.17 billion compared to $9.75 billion in the April-October 2022 period. Commenting on the data, the two commerce ministry officials said that for Australia alone, India's total imports from the world fell by 33% from $33.38 billion in April-November 2022 to $22.45 billion in the same period this year.

They added that it was too early to make a full assessment of the trade agreement, but India has undoubtedly gained new export product lines due to the preferential tariffs under the agreement.

While the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) commences on December 29, 2022, the two countries follow different schedules-Australia operates on a calendar year basis, while India operates on a fiscal year beginning in April. In addition, exporters from both sides are exploring new avenues of preferential trade. "We cannot be short-sighted in evaluating the agreement as ECTA has been positive for both sides and one year is too early to assess its full potential," Deputy Commerce Minister Rajesh Agrawal said.

"This is a free trade agreement which actually shows that the negotiations were conducted on the basis of comparative advantage. Each side has given preference to the other. Industry has been capitalizing on this. Some of the early germs show an increase in exports from both sides in the area of preferential tariffs."

Analyzing the year-on-year trade growth between India and Australia from April to October 2023, Tapan Mazonde, Deputy Director General, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, India, said that preferential zero tariff access has opened up the Australian market for new exports. Some of the exports with significant growth potential include gold jewellery with natural diamonds ($48.07 million in April-October 2023), gold jewellery without settings ($12.92 million), non-galvanized pipes for oil and gas ($16.59 million), skirts and dresses made of materials other than silk ($7.15 million), cotton garments other than kurta and salwar ( ($5.12 million), and bodies of tractors and specialized vehicles ($4.76 million).

India's imports from Australia, including wine, are expected to grow as New Delhi allows more duty-free access in due course. While the agreement with Australia opens up about 96% of tariff lines for Indian imports, more than 85% of Australian exports to India have also been zero-tariff since day one. Gradually, more items will fall into this category, according to the Australian government website. By January 1, 2026, Australia will have duty-free access for about 90 percent of goods, when imports from India will be 100 percent duty-free.

Following the implementation of ECTA in December last year, both India and Australia have agreed to pursue a broader agreement, known as Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), and have been working on its contours, Agrawal said.

Experts say the India-Australia bilateral agreement complements the needs of both economies. "The benefits of such transformational deals should not be assessed only on the basis of immediate benefits. The progress made in a year so far has been remarkable and the future looks bright for both India and Australia." Nilaya Varma, co-founder and CEO of consulting firm Primus Partners, said.

"ECTA is a stepping stone to a full Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). It provides competitive tariff elimination or tariff reductions for a range of key Australian exports and opens up new markets for services from suppliers that complement India's domestic reform priorities," Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on its website.

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