Melbourne: In a bid to tap massive potential of India's rail, dairy, water and health sectors, Australian government is encouraging its Small and Medium Enterprises to do business in India to boost economic linkages between the two nations.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb is all set to lead the largest trade mission across eight cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad, from January 12-15. "The mission has a good range of SMEs. There is a mid- tier company called Aurizon, specialising in railways, which has come on board," she said. Watkinson said SMEs were the ones who would benefit from such trade missions.
"It will give them access to high level meetings, high level government officials and networking, which they would never get when they visit alone," she said.
Watkinson further stressed that the Indian government under Narendra Modi's leadership was now looking east rather than west and it was the best time to showcase Australian capability in the Indian market.
"We are very strong in the areas of mining, food and beverage management. Over a dozen areas of focus have been identified by Australian government for increasing trade and investment in India," she said.
"There are 12 areas where we see the strongest potential for the Australian companies. What we tend to focus is on where is the capability on the Australian side and where is the need and willingness to use an international expertise on the Indian side," she said.
The focus areas are rail sector, heavy haul freight rail, where Australia is regarded as top three locations in the world for its expertise. Similarly, water, dairy management and health and ageing sector are also other areas where Australian expertise can be used in the Indian market, she said.
On concerns and issues of an Australian company to do business in India, Watkinson said, "There was lack of understanding about India and how to do business effectively."
China has been most popular because the businesses understood the way things moved there. "India is not one market but it is a set of very specific regional markets.
"There were different approaches when it came to understanding about marketing strategies best for a company entering with or without a joint venture," she said. "The biggest concern is the regulatory and approval processes seem to be very complex," she said.
However, she pointed out that the mood was changing after Modi government's recent efforts to simplify the bureaucratic process and make it easier for companies to set up operations here.