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Trade agreements with Australia, UAE to help boost exports, say export promotion councils

Various export promotion councils (EPCs) on Wednesday lauded the trade agreements signed by India with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia, saying the pacts will help the country in boosting exports by granting preferential access to those markets for Indian products.

Engineering Exports Promotion Council (EEPC) said that the country had benefited from preferential market access provided by the UAE on more than 97% of its tariff lines which account for 99% of Indian exports to the region in value terms.

Eastern regional chairman of EEPC, B.D. Agarwal, said at an interactive session here that this trend had emerged after signing of the India–UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which became effective from May, 2022.

The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), which will come into force from December 29, is expected to create 10 lakh jobs, and raise Indian merchandise exports to Australia by $10 billion, he said.

According to him, the ECTA will also allow zero duty on 100% tariff lines, and provide cheaper raw materials to steel and aluminium sectors. The trade pact will also raise the bilateral trade volume to $45-50 billion in five years.

Bipin Menon, development commissioner, Noida SEZ, said that India is the sixth largest trading partner of Australia.

India’s bilateral trade in goods and services with Australia rose 106.5% to $25.04 billion so far in the current financial year over the previous fiscal, he said.

The CEPA with the UAE is also expected to increase the total value of bilateral trade in goods to over $100 billion and in services to more than $15 billion within five years, he added.

Rowan Ainsworth, consul general of Australia in Kolkata, said that ECTA will help Australian manufacturers strengthen their supply chain resilience, and enhance trade diversification while also connecting the two complementary and stable economies.

Deputy DGFT, Kolkata, Anand Mohan Mishra, said that in recent years, the India-Australia bilateral relationship had charted a new trajectory of transformational growth. The trade relationship facilitated through ECTA would open a new chapter in the India-Australia association thereby enhancing India’s merchandised exports significantly.

Pankaj Parekh, regional chairman, the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, said the ECTA would help double India’s gem and jewellery exports to Australia, from its current $350 million to $800 million in three years. Post the India-UAE CEPA in May, gems and jewellery exports to the region witnessed an overall export growth of 20% to the region.

Regional chairman of Plastics Export Promotion Council (PLEXCONCIL) Lalit Agarwal said that the export potential for plastics from India stands at $5 billion to the UAE and $6 billion to Australia. Under the India-UAE CEPA, import duty applicable in the UAE on 260 plastic products has been reduced from 5% to zero with immediate effect.

Under the India-Australia ECTA, import duty applicable in Australia had been reduced on all tariff lines for plastic products with immediate effect which would act as a great booster for outbound shipments, he added.

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