Business Chamber Queensland data | Queensland businesses exporting twice as much to India

Thursday 22 June, 2023 | By: Emma Clarke

Queensland exports to India close to doubled in the 12 months to March, following a free trade agreement between Australia and India, Business Chamber Queensland data shows. 


The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), entered into force in late December and already Queensland exporters have benefitted from tariff-free shipments of close to 85% of goods.


Exports to Korea increased 101% in the same period, and 34% to China. Indonesia was the second highest priority export market for Queensland businesses, together with China holding the most significant share of shipments of more than 130 international destinations.  

Japan emerged in the top three markets last financial year, replacing Vietnam. 


Business Chamber Queensland International Trade and Strategic Relationships Manager Diana Gueorguieva said over the last nine months interest in the Indian export market had increased with Queensland businesses making the most of the Free Trade Agreement.  


Ms Gueorguieva said the trend would likely continue with an additional agreement, Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (CECA), progressing and likely to conclude by the end of the year.  


Ms Gueorguieva said India represented a significant, fast growing market opportunity for Queensland exporters with more than 1.4 billion people demanding locally made, high value products.


“Free trade agreements mean businesses can capitalise on these international opportunities but also local consumers and supply chains can access international products,” Ms Gueorguieva said.


“We saw a separate Free Trade Agreement, the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement come into affect this month also, with similar business benefits in those markets.”  


Ms Gueorguieva has more than 20 years experience in international trade and leads a multi-faceted trade team which provides a wide range of services and programs to support Queensland exporters. 


She said Queensland exports had already returned to pre-COVID levels in a sign the state’s businesses were adapting to the global environment and diversifying into traditional and new international markets. 


“We use Certificates of Origin data as an indicator on what is happening in the industry at a certain point of time,” Ms Gueorguieva said.   


 “A rise in preferential and non-preferential Certificates of Origin reflects a similar rise in export shipments which is predominantly due to exporters successfully diversifying into new markets, diversifying some products to meet changing demand and the improvement of global conditions.   


 “Queensland has a reputation for high-quality, in-demand goods which consumers and markets right across the world are looking for. 

“Our role is to ensure Queensland businesses have access to support and international trade expertise needed to access these markets and meet this demand.  


“Queensland businesses and products will be on the world stage in the next decade and beyond as we prepare to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and there is no better time to foreground our local products to these markets.” 


Last financial year beef held as the most exported Queensland commodity, accounting for close to 30% of all exports globally.  

Cereal, grain and other meat products account for close to 20% of exports.  


Overall, Business Chamber Queensland issued Certificates of Origin increased close to 8% last financial year, reflecting the increased export member activities.  


“We will continue our support to help businesses succeed internationally with export and Free Trade Agreements between Australia and other countries, education and advice, Certificates of Origin, ATA Carnets, business connections and other assistance as required,” Ms Gueorguieva said.  


 Business Chamber Queensland export member business Skin O2 is able to unlock a significant opportunity in the Indian luxury cosmetic market, securing a reduction in tariffs and export costs though the free trade agreement. 


 CEO Alison Atia said the free trade agreement meant the business was more competitive in existing negotiations with Indian retailers.  

 “We’ve partnered with the largest skin care retailer in India but the free trade agreement and the chamber support meant that could all come together, it made the India deal happen,” Ms Atia said.  


Alison Atia

 “A 20% drop in tariffs for cosmetics took us to the top of the list.” 


 Ms Atia said previously Australia wasn’t competitive in the Indian cosmetics sector.  


 “The tariff was so high, being so far away with freight it made it difficult, Australia wasn’t open for business,” she said.  


 “Having this tariff reduction has made us competitive. We really celebrated when we saw the free trade agreement come through. It’s a really good synergy market for us.”  


 Ms Atia exports to other markets including Vietnam, Morocco, Korea and the US but said Indian consumers had a strong demand for luxury skincare.  


 “The has been growth in the premium sector and a change in demographics which has seen increased demand for more luxury products which we expect to increase in the next five years,” Ms Atia said.  


 “To see an increase in the luxury niche market is very exciting. That growth trend has paved the way for an opportunity for our brand in the premium category.” 


 Ms Atia and her husband Dr Aaron Atia founded Skin O2 close to two decades ago and have been members of the state chamber of commerce since.  


 The award-winning business is known for speciality cosmetic products designed to protect against the harsh Australian sun – qualities also appreciated in international markets.  


 “Being a chamber member has been integral,” Ms Atia said. 


 “We’ve been offered a lot of support with export documentation for every country we have exported to.  


 “Being a member of the chamber and also having support from Trade and Investment Queensland has been really important.  


 “Having the chamber navigating through when there is a new free trade agreement and making it work on the ground, having the direct support, is really valuable.” 


 For more information see Business Chamber Queensland. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Business Chamber Queensland respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands from across Queensland and the Torres Strait. We acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal people as the Traditional Custodians of Meanjin (Brisbane), the lands where our office is located and the place we meet, work and learn. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.