Time to make an FTA with India a top priority – my rant!

What is the Australian Government doing to get a Free Trade Agreement with India? Very little, maybe nothing.

Austrade certainly knows the importance of increasing India trade: “With trade wars, powerful neighbours, and the odds on a recession narrowing within the next two years, considering Indian market entry has never been more mission-critical for Australian business.”

One statistic shows why the FTA makes a difference – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2016–17 (the latest year for which there is data), only 2,087 Australian exporters engaged with India (no FTA), compared to 7,214 for China (we have FTA).

Time for Prime Minister Morrison to make this a personal priority, engage with Indian PM Modi and overcome any remaining obstacles to a free trade deal.

Our China exports are around A$190 billion while India is far behind at around A$20 billion.

We can do much better than this – but it takes an FTA to kick start it.

Come on Australia!

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

One thought on “Time to make an FTA with India a top priority – my rant!”

  1. Australia’s culture of innovation and India’s demographically young market of over 500 million can be a powerful combination to create a vibrant Indo-Australian business space.Through franchise and e-commerce Australian brands in wine and cookies, fruits and fruit juices, cosmetics and beauty products , fashion textiles, electronics and sports goods should reach India’s shopping malls and supermarkets.When I worked for Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce I negotiated with Cookieman , An Australian brand to Chennai and today it has 45 franchises across the country.Jacob’s Creek the Barossa Valley Wine is the fastest selling wine brand in India today.Then, what is holding back a deeper trade involvement:? Every Australian report on India begins with a negative remark” India has great business opportunities. However it an is difficult country to do business in”.Adani Group should tell you how difficult it is to do business in Australia! Indian financial papers regularly carry interviews with leading US , European and Singaporean businessmen who invest in India .Not one of them has said that they find it difficult to do business in India.Recent visitors have been Mark Read,Chief Executive Officer,WPP,Dirk Van De Put,CEO, ,Mondelez International,Darius Adamczyk,CEO ,Honeywell International,Prem Vatsa, The Canadian businessman with substantial investments in India.Bii Gates visits India no less than 4 times a year.I don’t find any Australian names among these visitors.In an apparent rebuff to Australian business who ignore India State Bank of India has installed a few hoardings across Indian cities which proclaim ” SBI has more depositors than the population of Australia!”.

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