Celebrating the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement

07 April 2022

Speaker: Jennifer Westacott, Business Council chief executive
Event: Celebrating the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement
Delivery: Thursday, 7 April 2021

**Check against delivery**

Thank you everyone.
As we come together today to celebrate this historic trade agreement, let’s remind ourselves what all of this means.
What is trade? What does it mean to trade between two countries?
Yes, it is an exchange of goods and services, but it is so much more.
That exchange of goods and services turns into a job for somebody.
Then a job for somebody else to support that job.
This cascades into economic activity which supports a society.
With this, comes an exchange of ideas and innovation.
This brings advances in technology and living standards which are mutually beneficial.
Free trade and a rules-based order builds friendship, understanding and it builds the foundations of trust.
Let there be no doubt – free trade between open and democratic nations is a powerful force for peace and security.
So, today we are so pleased to be here with representatives of one of the world’s great nations and great civilisations – the nation that invented chess.
And on our side, representatives from the nation that invented wi-fi and continues to give the world a masterclass in cricket.
We are here today to usher in this new era of closer trade and cooperation between our two countries.
We are here to celebrate the deepening of our friendship, the long history of our cultural ties and our shared values around democracy.
Our trade deal with India will open up new opportunities with a market of 1.4 billion people and a 3 trillion dollar economy, allowing us to expand our trade worth 24 billion dollars in 2020.
Before I introduce Minister Tehan, it is important to acknowledge that this agreement with India is only one part of a massive body of work on trade.
This has been achieved through the hard work of the Minister and his predecessors, including former Trade Minister Andrew Robb who is here today.
I want to congratulate the government and all the trade officials – many of whom are also here today – on their achievements
Because Australia’s 16 free trade agreements as well as being part of numerous regional partnerships gives us preferential access to 4.3 billion consumers.
That’s jobs – that’s nation building prosperity.
There are many people who are sceptical about the forces of globalisation but these forces are unstoppable.
The challenge is how you make this work for your citizens.
And in countries like Australia with a mature economy and countries like India that are rapidly advancing, the mutual benefits are just overwhelming.
Leadership is a collective dynamic.
And that collective leadership will underpin the livelihoods of this generation and future generations of Australians.
And with that, can I please welcome Minister Dan Tehan.



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