The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal has said the India-Australia trade pact will raise bilateral trade from the present $26-27 billion to $100 billion by 2030, much faster than initial expectation of rising to $50 billion in five years. The excitement generated by the agreement has increased business optimism on both sides, he said while addressing the University of Melbourne along with Mr. Dan Tehan, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment in Melbourne on Wednesday.
“Together this marriage can truly have far reaching dimensions for both our economies and, if I dare say, for the rest of the world also where we can collectively engage and have an outreach to other parts of the world,” he said.
The minister invited Australian businesses to invest in India. “We offer you transparency. We offer you our trust, rule of law. We are two democratic nations, two people who love sports, both are members of the Commonwealth,” he said.
The minister also addressed members of the business community from both countries at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Shri Goyal said India and Australia have complementarities that can benefit both countries, – India’s huge market and Australia’s investible surplus. He said the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IndAus ECTA) will unlock the huge market of almost 1.4 billion consumers in India to Australian industries.
“We are now One, that’s what the Unity Agreement is all about. And at this watershed moment in our relations, I think it’s only appropriate that we break every barrier between the two countries whether it’s movement of goods, services, people, technology, education, science, medical knowledge, we break all these barriers, see how we can work together as true brothers,” said Piyush Goyal.
Goyal said there is huge potential in areas like textiles, pharma, hospitality, gems and jewellery, IT, Startups etc. and Accountancy in Services, that will create huge employment in both countries.
“Let’s see some more Tasmania lobsters in New Delhi possibly, or wine from South Australia coming down into Indian shelves, we’ll probably have a lot more Bangaloreans coming down to Melbourne to serve you in your IT space, we’ll have a lot more jewellers from Prime Minister’s home state of Gujarat, from Surat coming down to sell their wares in the stores in Australia, lots to do together, lot of potential in different areas. I hope this partnership will grow and we will all grow along with this partnership,” he added.
Goyal said there is huge scope for trade in Services. While Australia is a preferred destination for Higher Education for most Indians, the IndAus ECTA paved the way for resolution of a big obstacle for India’s IT sector to grow in Australia.
“I am delighted that we have been able to resolve a long pending issue about taxation of the IT industry that was kind of holding back greater business with Australia. That being behind us, there’s huge potential,” he said.
Goyal observed that many thousand years ago, Australia and India were part of same supercontinent and then the brothers were separated due to continental break-up. Today, our governments are trying to bring them together with increasing partnership on political, economic, security and sporting front. Our relations are as strong and resilient as the mighty Pacific Ocean, he said.
“Well, as they say, there’s a saying in Hindi, ‘dair aaye, durrast aaye’, – Even though you may be late, but it’s good that you are there. And I think that’s the sentiment that the Indus-Ekta Agreement has for all of us,” he said.
Later, delivering the keynote address at Lunch with Business Leaders, organised by the Australia India Chamber of Commerce (AICC) in Melbourne, Shri Goyal termed the IndAus ECTA as an important milestone that will contribute to widespread development of multi-sectoral economic value chains. Shri Goyal said it will have a positive economic multiplier effect in both economies.
“I believe that here is a partnership between two countries which don’t compete with each other at all, they actually complement each other,” said Shri Goyal. “The focus that we are putting on Make in India dovetails so beautifully into the strengths of Australia, the natural bounty that you are all endowed with,” he said.
Goyal said that India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken several bold initiatives since 2014 towards Ease of Living and Ease of Doing Business to ensure a better quality of life for all.
“We believe when the people of India have a better quality of basic necessities, they will be able to contribute much more to the Indian economy, to the society, be better citizens of the country. And the next stage, obviously, as the demand, as the expectations of our people increase, we will be needing to provide economic growth, we will be needing to provide jobs. There will be millions, hundreds of millions who will own their first automobile, there will be hundreds of millions who want to buy a dishwasher, a washing machine, there will be hundreds of millions who will be looking for better nutrition, better quality of healthcare, better quality of education,” said Piyush Goyal.
“And that’s where the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement can actually make a significant impact on the lives of the people of India and similarly provide huge opportunities for the people of Australia, working together, to meet the needs and aspirations of this billion plus people,” he added.
Complimenting the leadership of Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison, Shri Goyal said the role of the former Australian Prime Minister and Australian PM’s Special Envoy on Trade, Mr. Tony Abbott and Australia’s Trade Minister, Mr. Dan Tehan were instrumental in capping the long pending trade pact between the two nations.
“The world is going through tumultuous times, we’ve been grappling with Covid and other situations which are a cause of serious concern for all of us, but within those boundaries of problems, I think, (the fact that) India and Australia have demonstrated a unity of mind, a unity of purpose and a shared commitment to come together, expand our people to people relations, expand our business to business relations, strengthen the political partnership of our two leaders and two governments,” he said.
Earlier, paying his tributes to the veteran cricketer, late Shane Warne who hailed from Melbourne, the Minister said that he had his admirers in India as well and that millions of cricket fans mourned over the sudden demise of the ‘King of Spin’.
“He was unique in more ways than one,” said Shri Goyal, conveying his deepest condolences to the cricketer’s family and friends.