Media Release: AIBC Flags Bilateral Trade Index May 20, 2019

The Australia India Business Council (AIBC), established by Former Prime Ministers Vale Bob Hawke and Rajiv Gandhi to promote, business and trade between the two nations, has called on the Australian Federal Government to support a first-of-its-kind Australia India Trade Index to help Australian businesses harness the tremendous opportunities in the world’s fastest growing major economy. 

AIBC has commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to submit a proposal to AIBC for collaborating on an Australia India Trade Index to help Australian businesses realise the potential identified in the Government’sIndia Economy Strategy to 2035: Navigating from Potential to Delivery.

AIBC National Chair Mr Jim Varghese AO said the Australia India Trade Index would be a game-changer for the bilateral trade and investment relationship. 

“India is one of the rising global economies and will be the third largest economy by 2030. It will be the second largest economy (displacing the United States of America) by 2050,” said Mr Varghese. 

“To help Australian business tap into this enormous opportunity, we have asked Deloitte Access Economics to submit a proposal for an ongoing trade index which will assist and facilitate this bilateral business relationship, leading to solid financial benefits for the Australian economy,” continued Mr Varghese. 

“We are keen for the Government to lend support through funding over the next three years which will see AIBC producing – for the first time ever – a Trade Index,” concluded Mr Varghese. 

Immediate Past AIBC National Chair Ms Sheba Nandkeolyar backed Mr Varghese’s call. “During my tenure as National Chair of AIBC, AIBC provided comprehensive strategic recommendations for the India Economic Strategy to 2035 including implementation initiatives to help make the strategy a reality. This included the Australia India Trade Index,” said Ms Nandkeolyar.

“This long-term strategy is continuing under the current AIBC leadership and a commitment from the Government will reassure Australian–Indian business leaders and the Indian diaspora in Australia of Australia’s commitment to the bilateral business relationship,” added Ms Nandkeolyar.

“AIBC is a voluntary body and the Government’s commitment to fund this strategic initiative would indeed be a fitting tribute to the memory of the late great Prime Minister Mr Bob Hawke, who founded AIBC,” concluded Ms Nandkeolyar

The India Economic Strategy was commissioned by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and released by the Government in July last year. 

The targets set out in the strategy would see Australian exports to India grow from $14.9 billion in 2017 to around $45 billion measured in today’s dollars, and outward Australian investment to India rise from $10.3 billion to over $100 billion by 2035.

Two-way trade in goods and services between the two countries totalled $21.3 billion in 2017-18. Australia’s two-way trade with India grew faster than any other bilateral trade relationship in the past five years, at a healthy 12.9% per annum to 2017-18. 

Under the Deloitte Access Economics (DAE) proposal, AIBC and DAE will jointly produce annual and quarterly reports which will provide publicly available and timely business research that: 

·     Identifies the level and trends in trade and investment between the two countries; 

·     Directly engages the Australia-India business community through primary research; 

·     Discusses the emerging opportunities for trade and investment at the sectoral level; and 

·      Identifies any barriers to trade and investment.

It is envisaged that the index will provide timely and comprehensive economics and business intelligence to help bridge the knowledge gaps of Australian firms. 

AIBC National Chair Mr Jim Varghese AO can be contacted for comment on 0418 881 866 or via email at

About AIBC

The Australia India Business Council was established in 1986 by then Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Rajiv Gandhi to promote, support and expand bilateral trade, investment and strategic partnerships between the business communities of Australia and India. It provides a forum for establishing contacts between members and key stakeholders interested in bilateral trade and business opportunities between Australia and India.

AIBC liaises with the federal, state and territory governments of both Australia and India so as to develop political, economic and commercial cooperation in relation to bilateral trade between the two countries.


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