Australia eyes big boost in business with India - senior trade official Catherine Gallagher
Australia is committed to significantly boosting business ties with India even as the two governments continue their decade-old discussions on a proposed free trade agreement, Catherine Gallagher, Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner and General Manager - South Asia at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) told Moneycontrol in an exclusive interview.
The 'Australia-India Business Exchange' (AIBX), launched to handhold Australian investors in the Indian market, aims to quickly expand the footprint of Australian investments in India, beginning with premium processed foods, healthcare and industrial services markets, Gallagher said.
She also shared details of the host of bilateral sectoral engagements planned in 2021, as part of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed between both nations in December 2020.
The Australian government's 'Indian Economic Strategy 2035' envisions significantly raising trade and investment with India, and remove dependence on China. Would the strategy hold up even in the absence of the proposed bilateral trade agreement that has now been discussed between both countries for 10 years, but currently remains without a deadline?
Yes, absolutely. The comprehensive strategic partnership (CSP) committed both our countries to working more closely on a host of issues, and as part of that we did agree to reengage on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). So, the intention is to work together to reinvigorate that discussion. We know these things take a lot of time, and we really do want to have a high-quality FTA with India and the intention is still there. So, the intention is definitely there.
Continuing on that road, the CSP has demonstrated our long-term commitment to work together in so many areas -- economic, diplomatic, geopolitical. We have signed a number of MoUs under the CSP, which will demonstrate our commitment to the economic relationship. However, the strategy was commissioned back in 2017, and even at that point, we were committed to expanding and acknowledging our important relationship with India, even before any of the current global trade tensions began.
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