MELBOURNE: The investments by Australian companies in India grew 13.7 per cent in 2013, while the outlay of Indian firms in Australia remained flat last year as compared to 2012, according to a government report here.

Australian companies invested AUD6.57 billion in 2013 compared to AUD5.78 billion in 2012, up 13.7 per cent, according to the publication titled ‘G-20 Trade and Investment 2014′ issued by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
While Indian companies invested AUD10.86 billion in 2013, down 1.3 per cent compared to AUD11 billion in the previous year, it said.

A number of Indian companies including Gujarat-based Adani Group and Andhra Pradesh-based GVK Group have invested in Australia in areas of agriculture and mining, construction, manufacturing and communication services.

India and Australia enjoy a healthy economic relationship and are keen on increasing the level of trade and investment.

During a visit to India earlier this month, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “Trade and investment is substantial but it’s not what it should be, given our countries’ level of comfort with each other, our comparative proximity and the complementarity between our economies.”

In regard to two-way trade, India and Australia are in the process of negotiating a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Abbott has expressed hope that negotiations for the proposed FTA will be concluded by 2016.

The talks for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, also known as FTA, started in 2011.

So far, several rounds of talks have been completed for further liberalising, broadening the base of merchandise trade, removing non-tariff barriers and encouraging investments.

The two-way trade has dropped about 14 per cent to AUD 15.21 billion in 2013 vis-a-vis AUD 17.67 billion in 2012.

Further, Australia in July this year had cleared the proposed $15 billion Carmichael coal mine project of Adani Mining in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland.

The approval for the project, expected to provide electricity to up to 100 million people in India, was announced by Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who approved the Carmichael Coal Mine and the Rail Infrastructure project subject to 36 strict conditions.

Last month, Adani Mining had also won the state approval to build a 300-km rail line for the Carmichael project that will enable transportation of 100 million tonnes of coal a year after construction.

It is estimated the completion of the rail line will take about two years and will pump-in up to USD790 million into the Mackay region and over USD 900 million into the state economy.