INDIA HOPES FOR BETTER MARKET ACCESS FOR AGRO PRODUCTS IN AUSTRALIA
Date : 24 Apr 2002
Location : New Delhi
The need to tap the vast potential for greater bilateral trade between India and Australia was underlined at a meeting between the Australian Foreign Minister, Mr. Alexander Downer and Shri Murasoli Maran, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, here last evening. While noting that this potential remains untapped despite the two-way trade – currently estimated at US $ 1.4 billion ($ 1449.63 million) -- having more than doubled in the past decade, the Indian side urged greater market access especially for Indian agro products in Australia and expressed the hope for favourable quarantine regulations so that India could start exporting mangoes and other food items to Australia. Australia’s imports from India account for only 0.6% from its total imports and, hence, the scope for sourcing more of its requirements from India, Shri Maran said. It was also indicated that the Export Inspection Council of India and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service had been jointly working to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for recognition the equivalence of food inspection and certification systems covering fish & fishery products exported from India to Australia and the MOU is now ready for signing. Shri V. Govindarajan, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion and Shri Atul Sinha, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, were present at the meeting
During the discussions on bilateral trade, both sides sought tariff reduction on items of export interest to each other as a means of expanding bilateral trade. Thus, India has sought tariff reduction on its textiles and leather products, while the Australian side requested for reduction in respect of products like macadamia nuts and sultanas.
Shri Maran invited Australian investors to take advantage of the government’s liberalised foreign direct investment (FDI) policy as also the recently announced Exim Policy, in particular the decisions to permit 100% FDI in food processing, environmental technologies, drugs & pharmaceuticals, civil aviation and urban development sectors. Energy, ports, roads and information technology were listed amongst the potential areas for Australian investment in India. There is ample scope also for Indo-Australian collaboration in third countries in areas such as power stations, refineries, construction jobs, manufacture & installation of transmission towers etc. Australia today ranks 8th in the list of top investing countries in India in terms of the cumulative FDI approved since 1991. However, the inflows have not kept pace with the approvals, the Indian side pointed out while urging for more in terms of realised investment. While raising issues of mutual interest during the discussions, both Mr. Downer and Shri Maran underlined the warm and cordial relations enjoyed by India and Australia with their common commitment to the ideals of democracy and a pluralistic society which should reinforce stronger trade and economic ties between the two countries.