‘Historic’ trade deal with India allows Australia to reduce economic dependence on China, government says

Bestinau got that-

Australia and India will sign an interim free trade agreement after more than a decade of lengthy and sometimes torturous negotiations, which will see the federal government win a foreign policy victory.

The coalition has hailed the agreement as an important step in its efforts to diversify export markets and reduce Australia’s economic dependence on China by creating new opportunities in a large and growing economy.

The early harvest agreement is much broader than originally stated and will be reported to the World Trade Organization indicating that it has the legal status of a full free trade agreement.

It will cut tariffs on a range of Australian exports to India, including coal, lentils, lobster and rare earths.

The government praises its success in removing Indian barriers to Australian mutton and wool, as well as a phased cut in tariffs on wine and a host of other agricultural products, including avocados, cherries, nuts, blueberries, almonds, oranges, mandarins, pears and strawberries .

Commerce Secretary Dan Tehan said the deal would strengthen ties with a critical partner and boost trade, declaring it a “historic” deal.

“There’s an extensive resemblance here to the world’s fastest growing major economy.”

The government says the agreement is an important step in strengthening trade ties with a nation emerging as a major economic and strategic power.AAP: Mick Tsikas

Major exports excluded from deal

But while the deal is broader than expected, it still doesn’t offer the same depth of market access offered by Australia’s other free trade agreements.

That’s partly because India remains a more protectionist country than many of Australia’s other major trading partners.

Some Australian producers will see only limited or gradual gains, while other major Australian agricultural exports – including dairy, chickpeas and beef – have been completely excluded from the interim agreement due to domestic political opposition in India.

That is likely to disappoint producers from those sectors who have pushed for easier access to the Indian market, although Mr Tehan said the government would continue to push India to reduce these trade barriers in future negotiations.

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