Article provided by Business Research and Insights

The past decade has seen remarkable growth in the trading relationship between India and Australia, with two-way trade in goods and services reaching $14.8 billion in financial year 2013-14. With the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement expected to be concluded in 2015, India’s youthful population, diversified economy and growth trajectory presents significant opportunity for Australian businesses, especially in agriculture, energy, manufacturing, mining and services.

Fast facts

  • Capital: New Delhi
  • Official languages: Hindi, English
  • Population: 1.243 billion (2013)
  • Trade with Australia in 2013-14: Two-way goods and services trade was $14.8 billion
  • Trade rank: Australia’s 12th-largest trading partner
  • GDP 2014: $US2.04 trillion*
  • GDP growth 2014: 5.8%*

Source: DFAT/Austrade * IMF/EIU forecast

Business culture

  • Though a traditional society at heart, when it comes to business dealings most internationally accepted practices are widely followed in India. English is widely used in written and oral communication.
  • Any entertaining of business partners or clients is mostly done outside of the home.
  • In a business meeting using a formal manner of addressing a person, for example ‘Mr Smith’, is safer than using their first name.
  • Exchange of business cards is expected at most business meetings.
  • A multicultural and multi-religious society, India celebrates numerous religious and secular holidays. In certain parts of the country some of the religious occasions are celebrated for many days, such as Durga Puja in West Bengal and neighbouring states, and Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra. Dussehra and Diwali are also widely celebrated. It’s advisable to avoid scheduling a meeting around major holidays.

Source: Austrade


In 2013-14, the value of Australian goods exported to India totalled $8.36 billion. Australia exported $2.01 billion in services to India in 2013-14, primarily in education.

Australia’s major goods and services exports to India, (2013-14)

Source: DFAT 2014

Education-related travel
Copper ore and concentrates
Personal travel


In 2013-14, goods imported to Australia from India totalled $2.86 billion. Furthermore, Australia imported $1.45 billion of Indian services in 2013-14.

Australia’s major imports from India (2013-14)

Source: DFAT 2014

Personal Travel Services
Professional, technical and other business sectors
Passenger motor vehicles
Pearls and gems
Refined petroleum

Key resources

There are a variety of resources to help Australian businesses enter the Indian market, including:

In January this year NAB participated in Australia Business Week in India (ABWI), a week-long roadshow designed to boost trade and investment between the two countries.

ABWI 2015 was Australia’s largest ever trade mission to India with around 450 delegates across 14 focus sectors visiting eight key cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh and Kolkata. Australia’s Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb says: “There’s something special going on in India. The enormous vision of Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi has excited many people. Australia is looking forward to being a part of this very important period in India’s re-emergence as a significant power.”

This article was first published in Business View magazine (Winter 2015). For more articles and interactivity, download the iPad edition of Business View for free via our app, NAB Think.

About the author

Business Research and Insights is NAB’s online source of economic updates, business trends and case studies for small to medium enterprises. We draw on insights from economists, business owners and experts so you’re armed with the tips you need to help your business succeed. Subscribe to free monthly updates or visit Business Research and Insights.

Important information

Any advice contained above has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice, NAB recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances and that you review the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions or Financial Services Guide.

© National Australia Bank Limited ABN 12 004 044 937 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 230686.

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