NASSCOM wants early FTA between India and Aus

Melbourne: India`s leading Tech trade body NASSCOM has sought signing of the Free Trade agreement (FTA) with Australia on a priority basis to help strengthen trade relations between the two countries.

NASSCOM Vice President (Global trade and Development) Ameet Nivsarkar told PTI that the proposed India, Australia free-trade agreement was the key to acceleration of trade ties amongst the two countries.

Nivsarkar is in the country to participate in `CeBIT Australia 2012`, a mega business event, that commences in Sydney on Tuesday.

We are hoping that the agreement is signed on priority so that it helps both the countries fast track the relationship. Nivsarkar said: "Australia is a promising market both in terms of Asia Pacific region as well as the host to lot of innovative companies. We believe there is a huge opportunity for trade relations between the two countries, wherein the Indian companies can partner Australian firms and take their solutions across the globe", he said.

CeBIT 2012, an event where technology providers launch and promote new products, services and solutions, has India as the partner country this year. Besides over 70 Indian companies, the event is expected to be attended by Communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal.

Nivsarkar said: "Given the strength and stability of Australian economy and India`s expertise in computing solutions, we see the partnership going a long way in the next five years".

When asked on the earlier incidents of racial attacks which had led to concerns by India, he said "we don`t think it`s happening anymore".

"The Governments in both countries have taken steps to curb this issue and have been successful in the same. The fact that the enrollment rate of Indian students in Australia has gone up is a testament to this," Nivsarkar said.

"There is no missing link between the two sides and we are well on our way to create strong trade ties going forward, especially in the technology industry, "he said.

He said Indian companies would continue operating in the country and build on the trade relations with the Australian counterparts.

Asked whether the Indian IT companies were under penetrated, Nivsarkar replied in the negative, saying Indian IT companies are fairly present in Australia and are growing impressively.

Going forward, some of the areas of focus for forging strong business ties with Australian companies include IT & Telecom, retail, banking, mining and exploration, he said.

CeBIT Australia`s 2012 theme will be on "Trust and Security", an issue facing all business today, a report said adding the event is expected to have more than 520 exhibitors and attended by over 30,000 business visitors.