The India-Australia Joint Business council (JBC) was held
on March 1, 2007 at New Delhi immediately after the Joint
Ministerial Commission which was held on 28 Feb, 2007. The
16th Meeting of the India-Australia Joint Business Council
was organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and
Warren Truss, Hon’ble Minister for Trade of Australia
led a 44-member business delegation for the meeting. Mr Warren
Truss and Mr Kamal Nath, Hon’ble Minister for Commerce
and Industry, Govt of India, addressed the JBC. as did Mr
Brian Hayes, Chairman, Australia - India Business Council
and Vikram Kapur, Chairman, India-Australia JBC. Present on
the occasion were senior officials from the Indian and Australian
Governments, including H. E. Mr P P Shukla, High Commissioner
of India in Australia and H. E. Mr John McCarthy, High Commissioner
of Australia in India , Mr Sujan Chinoy, Consul General of
India, Sydney and Ms Deborah Stokes, First Asst Secretary,
DFAT, Australia among others.
Mr Kamal Nath,
Hon. Minister for Commerce & Industry and Mr Warren Truss,
The Hon. Minister for Trade, Australia
Mr. Habil Khorakiwala, President FICCI, highlighted
issues that impeded faster growth in Indo-Australian trade.
These included restrictive Australian visa norms for businessmen
from India. He called for opening up the Australian market
for Indian mangoes, and mutual recognition of services and
stated that the Australian Quarantine Inspection Services’
decision to tighten import controls on prawns and prawn products
from India would adversely affect imports from India.
The Commerce and Industry Minister Mr. Kamal
Nath invited Australian companies to tap the growing opportunities
in India’s mining, farm and education sectors. Addressing
the meeting Mr. Kamal Nath said: “The mining sector
should be of great interest to Australians. The economies
of India’s traditionally backward states - Chhatisgarh,
Jharkhand and Orissa - have the potential to grow from
US$ 30 billion in 2003 to US$ 75 billion by 2015 if they tap
their mineral wealth - and in the coming years”.
He expected the Australian companies with their state-of-the-art
clean coal and mining technologies to play a huge role in
developing the wealth of these states.
Mr. Kamal Nath said that India was in the
process of revitalizing its farm sector and was seeking massive
investments in processing capabilities and cold chains. The
farm sector stakeholders, he said, might have much to offer
to India in latest farming methods and cropping patterns.
“I believe that Australian food processing companies
can play a big role in developing boutique crops in India
such as canola, Chinese vegetables, grapes, organic wheat
and berries,” he pointed out. Mr. Kamal Nath said the
education sector also held vast scope for Australian firms
L-R Mr Brian
Hayes, Mr Vikram Kapur, signing the JBC Minutes
Standing L-R Mr .Sujan Chinoy, Mr Khorakiwala, Mr Warren Truss
& Mr John Mcarthy
Mr. Truss, who led the largest-ever Australian
business delegation to India, alluded to the synergies between
the two countries that now needed to be translated into concrete
business ties. For instance, he said, Australia has huge mineral
and energy resources and India has huge demand in these sectors.
He said that food processing in India was an area of opportunities
for Australian companies. He said he would initiate a major
study in Australia on India’s food processing industries
to determine how Australian companies could assist Indian
companies in this sector.
Sectoral meetings were also held between Indian
and Australian companies covering Legal & Financial Services,
Resources / Infrastructure , Aviation , Business and Education
Services and the ICT sector.