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Shortly after 20-something lawyer, immigrant and entrepreneur Uppma Virdi started her Chai Walli tea business in 2014 she decided to source her ingredients from organic suppliers in India. With that decision made the hard work began: how exactly do you find a credible organic tea supplier in a country like India?


Virdi migrated to Australia with her family when she was one and has visited her home country of India roughly every two years since. But even with that relatively good understanding of the Indian economy and local businesses, trying to find trustworthy suppliers was daunting.


Virdi is one of many business owners who could benefit from the Turnbull government's renewed focus on boosting trade relations with India. 


"I had reached a stage where my business was large enough that I no longer needed importers in Australia and I had enough volume to go direct to India, but I did not know which suppliers were credible," she tells The Australian Financial Review.


"I had to spend a lot of time doing my own due diligence, but we should have a contact directory or database of trustworthy representatives in India."


The search for reliable suppliers ultimately led Virdi to fruitful relationships in to Assam in northeastern India and Nilgiri in the south, but only after she travelled there to meet a local contact and did her own research.


"I am in touch with an organic farm activist that I found. I regularly reach out to her as an advisor to help me do my due diligence and check my sources," she says.


Virdi was awarded Business Woman of the Year at last year's India Australia Business and Community Awards. Her teas are stocked in more than 100 fresh produce stores and cafes around Australia and Virdi wants to eventually take the business overseas .


Virdi said the logistical challenges of exporting and importing – and high tariffs – could discourage businesses from trading with India.


"There should be a way for businesses to test the market with small quantities of produce that don't incur a tariff so that you can trial the market and see how it goes without committing. Equally, we should open it up for Indian businesses to trial their products here." 


Tariffs in India are quite varied with products such as wheat not incurring any tariff but other goods, such as wine and spirits, incurring high tariffs at upwards of 150 per cent. In 2016 the World Economic Forum calculated the country's average international trade tariff at 11.5 per cent.


Managing director of Mindfields Consulting, Mohit Sharma, moved to Australia in 2001 and has since helped many organisations set up shop in India and helped Indian firms expand to Australia. He has also founded the Australia India Business Council.


Mr Sharma says there are major barriers on both sides hurting trading opportunities, such as lax intellectual property protection laws in India and tough environmental laws in Australia. He is not convinced Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pro-business policies will be effective.


"India needs leadership which can walk the talk and not talk the walk," he said. "They are mostly populist measures. Indian gross domestic product and macro parameters have been adversely impacted and we are yet to see any positive reforms.


Source:Finanial Review

Qantas has been named the nation's best airline in the first annual TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards for airlines. On the world stage, the airline's international partner Emirates took out the top spot.


In the first such ranking of its kind for the online ratings service, front-runners were also recognised in Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Africa, and ranked by level of service across first, business, premium economy, and economy classes.


Category winners were determined by an algorithm that canvasses the quality and quantity of airline reviews and ratings submitted by its users all over the world.


Sadly, Qantas failed to rank in the global top 10, but was recognised locally for its high level of service and value for money, while Emirates claimed the best first and economy class titles. Russia's Aeroflot was awarded first place for its business class service, while Air New Zealand nabbed the top spot for premium economy.


The rankings comes shortly after Singapore's Changi Airport was named the world's best for the fifth year running.


Global top 10 airlines


1. Emirates, UAE


2. Singapore Airlines, Singapore


3. Azul, Brazil


4. JetBlue, USA


5. Air New Zealand, New Zealand


6. Korean Air, South Korea


7. Japan Airlines, Japan


8. Thai Smile, Thailand


9. Alaska Airlines, USA


10. Garuda, Indonesia


Source:Elsewhere Nine



several mutual fund advisors, the last few months have seen a large number of non-resident Indians (NRIs) queuing up to invest in Indian mutual funds


Neeraj Chauhan, CEO of The Financial Mall was quoted by Economic Times as saying, "The number of NRI clients in our client base is on a rise recently. This is mostly because of the strong Indian economy and the great show by Indian stock markets and the mutual fund industry.""As per mutual fund advisors, a slump in the real estate sector is the prime most factor which has contributed towards Indians settled abroad exploring alternate avenues of investments, with mutual funds offering one of the safest and profitable modes of investment


"NRI investors quit real estate sector as it was not paying off. Now, the gears have shifted to mutual funds," says Puneet Oberoi, a Delhi-based Certified Financial Planner


According to Oberoi, NRIs don't consider investing directly in stocks as safe so take the mutual fund route which is a comparatively safer option, although funds too are subject to market risks


According to AMFI data Indian mutual fund industry which has been growing at a rapid pace lately, manages a record 18 trillion rupees. Besides, lower interest rates being offered by bank's has also encouraged people to invest in mutual funds


"Moreever, another reason for increasing investments from NRIs in mutual funds is the political stability in the country. The Modi government which is in a majority at the Centre has been giving positive vibes to foreign investors. On the contrary, the instability that has crept into the Unites States after President Donald Trump's travel ban has also worked in India's favour


Chauhan said, "NRIs from USA and UAE are now in constant fear of having to leave the respective countries anytime. This is also a factor that they are looking towards India for investments."


Source: Meri News