India – Positive economic data for October and November implies the economy will return to growth in the March quarter of 2021. Active COVID-19 cases are now declining. The government has recently made legislative changes to the real estate market; it hopes to encourage demand for property and increase construction employment.
India – METS opportunities should be easier to pursue. A new, online ‘single window clearance system’ for coal mines has been launched that covers 19 major approvals for different departments. This new system is expected to reduce the time required to manage approvals, from auction to production.
Bangladesh – Australian cotton exports to Bangladesh are expected to grow substantially during 2020–21. Cotton imports grew by about 9 per cent to 7.5 million bales (16.27 million MT) in 2019–20, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The high demand for cotton during the first half of the year, combined with the country's efforts in combating Covid-19, enabled the export-oriented garment sector to maintain operations. Australian exported A$200 million-worth of cotton to Bangladesh in 2018–19.
Sri Lanka – Budget proposals for 2021 will focus on encouraging FDI and import substitution, dairy and poultry a particular focus. Prospects for processed foods look more hopeful: Austrade has secured a dedicated landing page for Australian brands on Sri Lanka’s leading supermarket chain’s e-commerce platform, www.keellsuper.com. Import restrictions remain in place to stabilise the local currency, although the government also has plans make Sri Lanka a commodity trading and value-add hub, using ports in Colombo and Hambantota.