There is a tremendous scope for Australian companies to invest in India as the country has liberalised its foreign direct investment (FDI) in sectors like mining and defence production, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday.
He also expressed hope to take forward the negotiations for the proposed free-trade agreement between the countries, which is officially dubbed as a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA).
"I believe there is a tremendous scope for Australian investments in India as we ease our FDI norms and open up different sectors like mining and defence production. These are the areas that are of natural interest to Australia," Goyal said at the CII Partnership Summit.
Australia has been an attractive destination for several Indian companies, particularly firms in areas such as banking, information technology and petroleum, he said.
"We are looking forward to a faster ramp (up) of some of the companies that have faced some problems in Australia.
"I do hope that they will be able to get back into fast track implementation of their projects and serve the people of Australia with jobs and people of India with requisite raw materials," the minister added.
Further, he said India's exports to Australia are at "modest and moderate" levels and they need to be increased for a balanced trade gap.
India's exports to Australia stood at USD 2.9 billion in 2019-20, while imports aggregated at USD 9.8 billion.
Speaking at the webinar, Australian Senator Simon Birmingham said, "I particularly look forward to some early progress on our re-engagement on Australia-India CEPA."
He said that as the cricket teams of both the countries are engaged in fields right now, "let's hit the ball for six by getting a quick move on this agreement and scoring some quick runs".
He added that India has decided not to join right now the mega trade pact - RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) agreement -- and from Australian perspective, the "doors remain firmly open".
Meanwhile a CII study suggested action points to both the governments, corporates and industry associations with an aim to promote trade and investments between India and Australia.
For the Australian government, it suggested steps such as streamlining visa processes, addressing taxation concerns of Indian firms, and easing out regulations for Indian banks operating in Australia.
Further, it said the Indian government should engage with Australian super funds to encourage investments in Indian infrastructure projects.
"This will require conducting awareness initiatives in Australia to provide information on regulatory policies in the country, execution potential of the projects, returns on investments, tax structures etc," the report said.
It also suggested that India should work with Australia to set up a sports university to support the development of diverse sports and to improve access to infrastructure/ sports-related specialisations for upcoming athletes and students in India.
For the mining sector, it said Indian institutes, corporates and government bodies should encourage partnerships with Australian institutes to facilitate joint research and training and knowledge transfer programs in areas like mine safety and technology applications.
It also said direct flights between Indian cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata and Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Darwin, will be a key enabler to improve tourism, business and trade relationships.