Australia Economic Strategy: Strengthening India-Australia Comprehensive Partnership

06 Jan 2021

India and Australia have shared long standing ties, which have expanded further over the years, through regular dialogues and increased pace of high-level engagements between the two sides in recent times.

Over the years, India has become an important and relevant partner for Australia’s economic strategy, especially in the areas of trade and investments. The India-Australia relationship continues to grow stronger underpinned by people-to-people ties, a shared past and other multifaceted commonalities including cultural and social factors, presenting further prospects for the partnership.

The global environment has significantly changed in the recent past and given the present landscape of changing geopolitical relations and the onset of the global Coronavirus pandemic, the current setting also offers significant opportunities for both sides.

Given this backdrop, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in collaboration with KPMG, has put together the “Australia Economic Strategy Report”, led by Ambassador Anil Wadhwa, Former Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The report was launched by Mr Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, at the recently held Partnership Summit 2020, jointly organized by the CII and the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

With the 3Bs of Bigger trade basket, Better trade basket and Balanced trade relationship, we can see huge & exponential growth in our trade relationship, said Hon’ble Commerce and Industry Minister while releasing the report.

The report highlights the strategic areas of opportunities and potential collaboration areas, across diverse sectors between the two sides. Implementation strategies, both short and long term, and a set of wide-ranging recommendations are also devised, which could further strengthen the Australia-India strategic partnership, especially in the areas of bilateral trade and engagements.

The suggested strategies presented in the report have been formed based on inputs from Ministries, Government officials, industry of both sides, academia, think tanks and media, as well as from independent research. These inputs will provide useful guidance to policymakers and Governments from both sides, in taking forward the strategic partnership.

The report highlights the importance of stepping up bilateral trade and investments between the two sides. It further notes that the significant untapped potential between the two in these areas.  

India’s exports to Australia are still at modest levels and it can significantly benefit by expanding goods and services exports to Australia, which in turn will help India to strengthen its trade basket.

Given the importance of diversification of supply chains in the current context, India should leverage its strengths across key commodities such as refined petroleum products, pharmaceuticals and biosimilars, commercial vehicles, agricultural commodities, renewable energy and railway equipment, among others, as identified by the report, and target a higher share of Australia’s goods imports.

The report presents detailed analysis and highlights Australia’s potential and India’s opportunities across certain ‘focus sectors’ including mining and resources, technology, pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, railways, agribusiness, education, among others.

Further, emerging sectors of opportunities such as labour-intensive services, defence, sports and sports technology, space, and digital gaming and animation, among others have been identified by the report as future sectors of cooperation between the two sides.

The report also presents strategic opportunities for India to benefit and gain from expanded collaboration in areas such as research and innovation, technology, resources, tourism, and services, among others and provides important policy directions boosting the partnership further in these areas.

Implementation strategies to step up cooperation across potential areas of engagement are also presented that elaborate on relevant and critical issues including streamlining of visa processes, taxation concerns of companies, promoting entrepreneurship and startups across both countries, and collaborating on phytosanitary measures, among others.

Increased cooperation across new and emerging sectors of opportunities as identified by the report have the potential to further elevate the India-Australia strategic partnership.

While the two sides will gain immensely from expanded collaboration, the partnership will also play an important role in revival of the two economies in the post-Covid area, while also acting as a strong stabilization force for the entire world. In this context, the comprehensive report will serve as an useful guide and a constant reference point for companies interested in conducting business in India and will provide new energy to the India-Australia partnership.

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