Source: Times of India
Australia will seek to expand its services exports to India when its trade and investment minister Andrew Robb lands in New Delhi next week for his third visit this year.
Robb will also discuss with his Indian counterparts the progress of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation agreement (CECA) which the two countries plan to sign by the end of 2015. PM Narendra Modi and Australian PM Tony Abbot have signalled their strong commitment to seal the CECA by the end of this year. The eighth round of negotiations are set to take place in New Delhi in July.
"The variety of new opportunities presenting themselves from our expanded economic engagement is providing exciting new pathways to further deepen bilateral ties between our two countries," Robb said in a statement. "In addition to improving market access for goods, I'm determined to grow our services exports to this region, given it is one of the world's most rapidly growing services markets on account of its rising middle class."
He said the there were signs that these opportunities were taking shape. The Australia India Council has provided Victoria University a grant to work with the Indian government to establish elite sport systems, which has the potential to unlock future commercial opportunities in this growing services field, Robb said.
The Australian trade minister, who will be on a three-day visit to India will attend the Australia-India CEO Forum at the invitation of the co-chairs, Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh and the Chairman of the Adani Group, Gautam Adani.
"Abbott and Modi agreed to work towards concluding a CECA in 2015 to increase trade and investment, promote job growth and fuel prosperity for both our countries," Robb said.
He said the Australian Government welcomes the opportunity to work with business leaders from India and Australia.
"With Australia and India's top business leaders contributing to the Australia-India CEO Forum, we are committed to building and expanding our trade and investment relationship and together we will drive our future economic engagement," he said.
Earlier this year he visited India for the inaugural Global Exhibition on Services in New Delhi, following a visit in January for the Australia Business Week in India (ABWI), which saw more than 450 Australian business leaders take part in a week-long roadshow across the country, designed to boost trade and investment.
India is Australia's 12th largest trading partner and two-way trade between India and Australia is approximately $A15 billion. Indian foreign investment into Australia has reached almost $A11 billion, with $A9.8 billion of Australian investment in India.