Indian, Australian business bodies sign trade pact
Mr. Modi will visit australia soon.
Indian, Australian business bodies sign trade pact:- New Delhi April 05, 2005 5:18:17 PM IST
New Delhi, March 22 : An Australian body and an Indian business lobby Tuesday inked an agreement to increase bilateral trade manifold, as the two countries look beyond the clichˇs of the "kangaroo and the bullock cart" and discover commonalities.
The memorandum of understanding was signed here between the Global Foundation, a citizens' initiative to promote Australia's development, and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India's apex industry buttociation.
It provides for increasing two-way activities multi-fold from the current A$5.87 billion in 2003-04.
"We realise the huge opportunity for us in India, which we can engage because of three main reasons -- the English-speaking population, the English rule of law that we understand and the demographic profile," said David Murray, who is heading a Global Foundation delegation here.
He said his country was looking to engage India, Australia's sixth largest trade partner, beyond the conventional areas of trade cooperation like mining and textile.
Identifying diverse trade avenues is a prerequisite for Indian entrepreneurs if they have to beat their counterparts in China, currently Australia's largest trading partner with bilateral trade of about A$14 billion in the last fiscal.
Murray, who is also the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), said there was a huge opportunity in banking in India. "We are talking with India's banking regulator (Reserve Bank of India) on launching operations here."
Trade between Australia and India has picked in the last three years when exports consistently grew by 37 percent, Australian Trade Commission official Michael Moignard said.
He, however, noted that trade had to grow by at least 50 percent if India were to take the place of New Zealand, Australia's fifth largest trading partner (A$48 billion).
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CII director general N. Srinivasan said: "The opportunities for cooperation are spread across the manufacturing sector, telecom, knowledge-based industry, entertainment and media."
"One is home to an animal that hops but doesn't run and a bird that runs and doesn't fly. The other is still home to sights like bullock carts competing for road space with motors cars.
"But Australia and India are trying to trying to discover commonalties that could benefit each other's development rather than trying to find clichˇd contradictions today."
That is the spirit of the agreement too, he said.
Srinivasan said to achieve the Indian government's target of attracting $150 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the next 10 years the industry would have to sell itself better.
Infrastructure is one such area where India could benefit from Australia, he pointed out.
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CII and the Global Foundation have agreed to form an Indo-Australia CEOs forum to facilitate closer relationships, particularly to address trade and investment issues in the two countries.
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