During the last week of July 2018, the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised a Business Delegation to Australia, in association with Australian Trade Commission (Austrade). Led by Mr Chandra Shekhar Ghosh – president, The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and managing director and CEO, Bandhan Bank Limited – and co-led by Mr Indrajit Sen – president designate, The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and managing director, International Combustion (India) Limited – their objective was B2G and focused B2B. The delegation visited Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and also Perth.
In the time of their interactions with senior Australian government officials, the possibility a full Consulate-General in Kolkata was also discussed.
The inaugural meeting held in Sydney saw Mr Paul Manoharan, manager, New South Wales Trade and Investment, sharing an overview on business opportunities in Australia, especially in New South Wales, which is arguably the most concentrated economy in Australia with 61% of more than 510 Fintech companies in the country working out of NSW. He mentioned that an estimated $80 billion will be spent by the government during the next four years on infrastructure, the focused sectors being transport, health, education and water.
In Canberra, the delegation held meeting with Mr Paul Myler – assistant secretary, South and West Asia Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Australia – where the increasing consciousness of the Australian business community on business opportunities in India was discussed. Business culture, diaspora linkages and the present political scenario too were addressed. The India-Australia relationship is based more on economic collaborations, strategic partnership with P2P ties being important factors. The equation between the two countries is not investment led, therefore, skill development in sectors like mining, health tech, hospital management and education were brought to table.
This was followed by an interaction with Ms Tania Constable, CEO, Minerals Council of Australia. In the context of cooperation with overseas countries including India, the newly-minted “An India Economic Strategy To 2035”, was referred to in-depth and the aspects of regional connectivity and negotiations on issues like CECA and RCEP were taken up.
“The members of the council requested the Bengal Chamber for its views on various aspects of the Indian mining industry and we have provided them with insight by focusing not only on mining and minerals in India, but also on the dynamics of this sector in West Bengal and the Eastern region,” said Angana Guha Roy Chowdhury, Deputy Director, The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, adding, “Regulatory issues with respect to overseas investments were also discussed. The meeting concluded with the Chamber suggesting that it would be most opportune for the Minerals Council to visit India and West Bengal and specifically take part in the Bengal Global Business Summit 2019. Perhaps, showcasing of demonstration mines by the Minerals Council could also be a part of a wider domain of collaboration.”
In Melbourne, the team held discussions with the Australian banking and financial services ecosystem. The meeting was attended by Mr Rod Tasker, Strategic Management and Innovative Solution delivery in Banking and Finance industry and Mr John Salamito, Australian and International FSI corporate leader and entrepreneur.
The delegation also met up with Ms Irene Tkalcevic – director, Trade Development, Trade Victoria – and Mr Karls Ellis – policy adviser, International Policy, International Coordination Office, State Government of Victoria – to get a comprehensive overview of the Victorian economy with complete focus on trade, education, health and professional services.
“Detailed presentations were made on exports from Victoria with $8 billion-worth exports to South East Asia and $3.6 billion to Asia Oceania. We also noticed a keen interest in urban technology and India’s Smart City programme. “Samriddhi”–the Kalyani City of Analytics project concept was also discussed by the Chamber secretariat,” Ms Guha Roy Chowdhury shared.
The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry was set up in 1853. However, the Chamber’s origins date back to 1833 when its founding forefathers came together to form the first association of its kind in the country, which was later formalized as the Bengal Chamber. For the last one and a half centuries, the Chamber has played a pioneering role as a helmsman, steering the evolution of Commerce and Industry in India.
The Chamber has extended invitation to relevant stakeholders to the 14th International Mining and Machinery Exhibition to be held in Kolkata from October 31 to November 3, 2018.