Bilateral engagement between Australia and India increases as wool trade ‘poised for growth’

Aidan SmithCountryman
Merino wool fleece on display.
Camera IconMerino wool fleece on display. Credit: Aidan Smith/Countryman

Ties between the Australian wool industry and key representatives of the Indian Government and industry stakeholders have been strengthened in recent months as bi-lateral engagement to foster greater relationships increased.

WoolProducers chief executive Jo Hall travelled to India in late October in an effort to explore expansion and risk mitigation opportunities for the Australian wool industry.

Ms Hall said the visit proved “integral” in further strengthening ties with India.

“A roundtable held in Delhi on October 25, aimed to strengthen collaboration and explore opportunities for cooperation in the wool sector, marking the second in-country meeting in just seven months,” Ms Hall said.

In return, a large Indian delegation, comprising senior industry and government representatives, attended the Global Sourcing Expo in Melbourne.

Woolproducers chief executive Jo Hall.
Camera IconWoolproducers chief executive Jo Hall. Credit: supplied/supplied

Two days before the roundtable, WoolProducers president Steve Harrison hosted Indian Wool and Woollens Export Promotion Council chairman Romesh Khajuria, and an Indian Government delegate Arvind Kumar, on a day trip to the Australian Wool Testing Authority and the Melbourne Wool Selling Centre to meet with industry colleagues, as well as to observe shearing and wool classing at Bendigo.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to host some of our Indian colleagues and show them Australia’s world leading practices in terms of wool testing, standards, shearing and classing,” Mr Harrison said.

“Our Indian guests, Mr Romesh Khajuria and Dr Arvind Kumar, were delighted to experience all of the goings on during shearing at Redesdale, Bendigo.”

India, as the world’s second-largest consumer of wool, is witnessing a surge in demand for both raw wool and woollen products.

WoolProducers Australia president Steve Harrison.
Camera IconWoolProducers Australia president Steve Harrison. Credit: EXCLUSIVEIMAGES JENNIFER NAGY/RegionalHUB

The Australia-India Economic Co-operation and Trade Agreement, which removed tariffs for Australia’s raw wool, has already shown positive results.

Wool exports from Australia to India increased from 11 million kilograms (US$110 million) in 2021-22 to 14 million kgs (US$135 million) in 2022-23, despite the ECTA being in place for only six months of the last financial year.

Ms Hall said the potential demand for wool in India presented “a significant opportunity” for the Australian wool industry to expand its market share.

“With the support of the ECTA, the Australian wool industry could establish itself as a reliable supplier and contribute to the growth of India’s woollen sector,” Ms Hall said.

“Furthermore, India has extended an invitation to Australia to attend Bharat Tex 2024 in February 2024, providing an opportunity for further cooperation discussions and exploring business opportunities between the two countries.

“India has also expressed interest in a reciprocal visit to Australia in mid-2024, offering an avenue to advance discussions on agreed cooperation interests and facilitate farm visits.”

She said the collaboration between Australia and India marked “an exciting time” for both countries to seize the potential offered by the market and foster mutually beneficial trade relationships.

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