India’s agri imports from South Australia grew 200% under zero-tariff regime

November 25, 2023 07:07 pm | Updated November 26, 2023 08:24 am IST - BENGALURU

Nick Champion, Minister for Trade & Investment – South Australia

Nick Champion, Minister for Trade & Investment – South Australia | Photo Credit: By Special Arrangement

India’s imports of almonds, beans, oranges, wines, lentils, pulses, several processed agro foods, sheep meat etc. from the state of South Australia (SA) have risen significantly since the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) came into effect a year ago, said Nick Champion, Minister for Trade & Investment – South Australia.

The minister who was on a six-day India tour spoke to The Hindu in Bengaluru: “South Australia has been witnessing growing import demand for lentils, pulses and certain other food items following the zero-tariff rate India introduced last year, resulting in food, wine and agribusiness sector exports to India growing more than 200% in the 12 months until September 2023.”

He said his state was also seeing significant opportunities to grow its exports to India especially products such as food and wine, and premium food products building upon the eliminated tariffs on over 85% of Australian goods–which will rise to 90% by January 2026.

“Above all these, India is a fast-growing market for premium agri products, food items and high-value wines with consumers’ disposable incomes on the rise,” the minister observed.

India is South Australia’s fifth-largest export market, with exports worth AUD 1.1 billion of goods over the last 12 months–a figure that has risen by 11% in the previous year.

Beyond dine and wines

According to the minister, India and South Australia share common goals, particularly in the demand for clean, green premium produce, renewable energy, health, international education, critical technologies and space industries.

“As India seeks to grow its 3.5 trillion economy by underpinning it with digi-tech and innovation, energy transition and manufacturing, South Australia is poised to become a ‘partner of choice’ in areas such as e-commerce, renewable energy, critical technologies including IT, defence and space and international education,” Mr. Champion said.

During the exploratory tour, the minister met with his counterpart in Karnataka, Mr. M.B Patil and had engagements and roundtable meeting with with TCS, Wipro, Tata Electronics, Infosys, HCLTech, TechMahindra, and various start-ups focused on defence and aerospace sectors. He also met BigBasket to gauge possibilities of exporting more pulses, grains, and lentils from South Australia to India.. The minister also facilitated a special partnership between South Australian space-tech start up, HEX20 and Indian space-tech start-up AstroGate Labs.. The collaboration involves integrating HEX 20’s currently satellite bus platform with AstroGate’s laser communication solutions.

He said companies in South Australia’s innovation regions, Lot Fourteen and Tonsley, would be able to collaborate with Indian tech firms in AI, machine learning and innovation to accelerate development of IT products, services, applications, platforms and critical technologies for space, defence and renewables industries.

In order to create more avenues for South Australian and Indian businesses to connect, the state is currently in the process of hiring a Country Director to be based in Mumbai.

On Friday, the minister inaugurated Pro-Wine Mumbai, where some 10 South Australian wineries are participating.

“As a newly-formed state government, we want to reiterate the high value our state places on its relationship with India. We are keen to work more collaboratively and closely with India, in ways that will see mutual benefits for both regions,” he added.

Some 43,598 Indians reside in South Australia. Also, India is its largest source of international students, with the student cohort growing 36% over the last year to over 14,000 enrolments.

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