The International Trade Council is delighted to announce that the Australian Parliament has passed bilateral free trade agreements with India and Britain. This important step will enable both Australia and its partner nations to diversify their trade relations, as Australia seeks alternatives to the Chinese market and Britain continues to establish new bilateral trade partnerships following its exit from the European Union.
The bills were passed in the House of Representatives on Monday and made into law by the Senate on Tuesday. The respective British and Indian parliaments must now ratify the agreements before they can come into effect.
Trade Minister Don Farrell praised India's commitment to the bilateral economic partnership, stating that "closer economic ties with India are a critical component of the government's trade diversification strategy." He also emphasized the importance of the British deal in boosting Australia's growth.
Under the Australia-Britain agreement, over 99% of Australian goods exports will become duty-free, including sheep meat, beef, dairy, sugar, and wine. The deal with India will remove taxes on 90% of Australian goods exports, such as meat, wool, cotton, seafood, nuts, and avocados.
Last week, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese discussed the agreements with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia. Albanese confirmed plans to visit India in March to further advance the deal, which was signed in April.
The British deal, signed by then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson's administration in December, has faced criticism for not delivering more for Britain. The agreements will come into force 30 days after countries have advised each other in writing that the supporting legislation has been passed by their parliaments.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Albanese and his ministers welcomed World Trade Office Director-General Nzogi Okonjo-Iweala to Canberra. Trade Minister Farrell said that discussions with Okonjo-Iweala included implementing the outcomes of the WTO conference held in June.
The International Trade Council is optimistic about the potential of these free trade agreements to promote economic growth and strengthen trade relations between Australia, India, and Britain.