Biz concerns exist, but knowledge sharing will boost investment interest: Aussie official

Knowledge among investors of both Australia and India regarding the commercial interests and regulatory framework in both the country would help improve the trade and investment relations between the two countries, said Catherine Gallagher, Minister Commercial, Australian High Commission New Delhi and Head of Austrade South Asia.

Observing that there has been a lingering perception over an adverse business environment in India, the Official told IANS that the perception seems to be changing now with the reform agenda picking pace in India.

She also said that Australian Trade and Investment Commission has been passing on communicating to the Australian businesses on the changing scenario in India in a bid to drive them to invest in India.

Gallagher was of the view that the recently launched Australia India Business Exchange (AIBX) would play a major role in making business communities in both the countries aware of the opportunities available to them and the regulatory environment.

“I think there is a perception that doing business with India can be difficulty and they can have issues. But now we have also seen and what we are pushing in our communication to our Australian businesses, the length at which India has moved forwards and moved up in the ease of doing business and also the regular reform and the pace at which India has been changing,” the official told IANS.

She noted that more work needs to be done to highlight the reform agenda undertaken in India.

The AIBX would play a major role in sharing information to the business entities in both the countries. AIBX is a four-year programme and significant progress is expected to be made in the upcoming Australian financial year starting July largely in healthcare and medical sector.

In the past couple of months, a lot of progress has been made in terms of the exchange. She said: “We are currently looking at a lot of work for the demand study report on critical minerals.”

Gallagher also said that Australian companies can play a significant role in terms of skill and technology sharing with India liberalising its mining sector.

Other areas where Australia can share its expertise with India include infrastructure, water and rail technology among others, she said.

“We are doing a lot of work in water, also in rail technology really exploring the opportunity to work more closely around critical minerals demand.”

With a view to provide prospective investors an in-depth knowledge on the opportunities available in both the countries and the existing environment, she said the AIBX website goes sector by sector in terms of its approach, as every sector its own dynamics and regulatory issues.

Talking of the sector-specific studies being undertaken, she said: “We have a health sector report being commissioned. We have just put up online an e-commerce market report. We have an infrastructure report being commissioned and an alcohol and wine report that is being commissioned.”

All these reports would provide the required insight to prospective investors, she said.

She also expressed hopes that offline, person-to-person meetings would soon start to boost the relations between the trading community and investors of both the communities.

Inviting Indian investors to Australia, Gallagher noted that the Australian has been doing “incredibly well” in the face of the pandemic and the business environment there is conducive for new businesses.

With several India companies already present there, she said: “Any new player would be in good company.”

(Rituraj Baruah can be reached at