Event ReportsPublished on Jul 26, 2017
GST: India can learn from Australia

Australia is keen on sharing its expertise with India in a number of areas, including GST, said Mr. Peter Truswell, Acting Assistant Secretary in the India and Indian Ocean Branch of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade during an interaction with scholars from ORF Kolkata on 21 July.

‘Goods and Service Tax (GST) was introduced more than 15 years ago in Australia and India can learn from our country’s experience’, said Mr. Truswell. Citing strong bilateral economic trade relations between Australia and India, Mr. Truswell called defence, water, coal mining, food storage and financial institutions as areas for bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Mr. Ashok Dhar, Director, ORF Kolkata, who chaired the discussion, emphasised that while it was true that India’s trade deficit with countries with whom it has signed Free Trade Agreements had increased, gains to stakeholders like consumers, farmers, industrialists and governments in both importing and exporting countries needed to be critically analysed. Such analysis would require econometric modelling for various “So What If” (SWIF) scenarios for trade flows in goods and services.

Mr. Truswell agreed that the trade deficit/surplus issue needs to be analysed on a country-to-country basis, keeping in view the nature and size of the economies.

In the discussion, it was argued that Australia is a big naval power in the Asia-Pacific region and it wanted to increase its foothold in the Indo-Pacific. Sometime back it held a trilateral naval exercise with Singapore and Japan and now looks forward to joining India in the Malabar naval exercises. Some speakers said China does not pose a threat to the maritime status quo in the Indian Ocean region as yet. But, it is worrying to see the increase in the number of naval carriers by China.

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