The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 18 , 2014
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Gold import fall was good for India’s economy, but bad for trade with Australia

Melbourne, Jun 18 (PTI): Trade between India and Australia has dipped sharply by nearly 14 per cent to Australian $15.2 billion in 2013 as compared to the previous year, according to official data.

The total two-way trade between the two countries was A$15.2 billion last year, a decrease of 13.9 per cent on 2012 and the lowest in the last five years.

In 2008, the total trade was recorded at A$18.9 billion whereas in 2012 it was A$17.7 billion.

The decline in the trade has been attributed to factors like drop in gold imports from Australia, decline in coal prices as well as slowing down of the Indian economy.

The latest drop in the total trade volume has been due to a decline in quantity of gold imports from Australia and a decline in coal prices, said Anil K Sharma, first secretary, economics and commerce, Indian High Commission.

However, India has been keen to expand its exports, Sharma said adding that Indian companies have been participating substantially in various trade and sourcing fairs held in Australia.

”ITPO will be participating in a Trade Fair in Perth this year and India will be the partner country. Apart from resources and energy, we have significant business in education and skills as well as IT-based services,” Sharma said.

Australia India Institute (AII) director Amitabh Mattoo, meanwhile, iterated the need for the newly elected “Team Modi” to now make the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia as a priority.

Citing that the most important reason for the slackening of bilateral trade was the slowing down of the Indian economy and the huge tariff and non-tariff barriers that exist on both sides, Mattoo said, “An early conclusion of the negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement -- with a minimal negative list - would throw open huge opportunities for both countries.”

Trade between Australia-India is widely seen as less than it could be and accounts for just slightly over three per cent of total Australian trade in goods and services.

Australia's total trade with China in 2013 jumped to A$150 billion, an increase of over 20 per cent on 2012.

China accounts for almost one quarter of Australia's two-way trade and is also the country's largest two-way trading partner, the largest export market (A$102 billion) and largest source of imports (A$49 billion).

Australian exports to India have mainly been in the sectors of coal, gold, copper and education services.

A recently released Australian International Business survey found only three per cent of Australian companies nominated India as the most important market in terms of international revenue.

Education remained as the only industry in which over majority of Australian companies ranked India as the most important market.

Even for software sector, the top three markets for Australian companies were the US, the UK and New Zealand.