Australia bolsters ties with India

Australia has strengthened ties with India — one of its most important partners in the Indo-Pacific region — with a series of initiatives to support bilateral relationships in education, community, tourism and investment.

Australia-India MoU

Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Following meetings between Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan, and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, in New Delhi, the Government renewed the Australia-India Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism Cooperation and launched the Australia India Infrastructure Forum.

Under the MoU, Australia and India will promote travel between the two markets and advance cooperation on tourism policy, data sharing, training and industry engagement, the Federal Government said.

Pre-pandemic, India was Australia’s fastest-growing source of international visitors. In 2019, almost 400,000 visitors from India visited Australia and spent a combined total of $1.8 billion.

The Australia India Infrastructure Forum will serve as a hub to promote two-way investment in infrastructure. As a side initiative of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, currently under negotiation with India, it will also support broader trade and investment objectives. A new $5.8 million Bay of Bengal Connectivity Partnership will expand this work to other countries in the region.

Lentils tariff removed

It comes as New Delhi announced it has removed an 11 per cent import tariff on lentils, effective immediately, in a boon for Australian grain growers keen to push further into the Indian market.

A 66 per cent tariff on chickpeas remains.

The head of CCIWA’s International Trade and Investment Centre, Michael Carter, said: “The Australia-India bilateral relationship is entering an exciting phase of increasing converging values, which will provide tremendous commercial opportunities for WA businesses.”

“We’re enthusiastically working with key stakeholders, the Australia India Council and the Australia India Business Council to support businesses on both sides of the Indian Ocean to explore trade, investment, tourism, education and the value of people-to-people linkages,” he said.

“This comes at a time when the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement is under negotiation.”

3 friendship initaitives

The Government also launched three Maitri (friendship) initiatives in India, which will foster Australia-India cooperation, creativity, understanding and exchange.

  • The $11.2m Maitri Scholarships Program will attract and support high-achieving Indian students to study at Australian universities. It will showcase Australia’s globally renowned academic and research institutions, particularly in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health.
  • The $3.5m Maitri Grants and Fellowships Program will build links between Australia’s future leaders, supporting mid-career Australian and Indian professionals to collaborate on strategic research and shared priorities.
  • The $6.1m Australia-India Maitri Cultural Partnership will boost the role of creative industries in our economic and people-to-people ties. This partnership will also promote artistic talent and cultural exchanges in our two countries’ world-class visual and performing arts, literature, film, television and music industries

The initiatives follow the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which was agreed in June 2020.

Commercial fishing opportunities

CCIWA in partnership with the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) has invited the commercial fishing industry in WA and India to understand and explore areas of harvest and post-harvest collaboration at a free webinar on February 23.

High-level government and industry speakers from WA and India will highlight their perspective on the collaboration in equipment and technology transfer, skills development, training, bilateral investment and trading.

This webinar will be an opportunity for West Australian and Indian companies to collaboratively pursue commercial partnerships.

AT CCIWA’s International Trade and Investment Centre (ITIC) we are here to help businesses reduce the time, cost and risk of going global. Contact the team for a free consultation on (08) 9365 7620 or via [email protected]

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