Although the SARS outbreak had a 'moderate' effect on trade and investment flows between India and ASEAN countries, domestic industry could expect a spur in business in tourism, human resources, consultancy and food processing.
Releasing the FICCI survey conducted to gauge the impact of SARS on trade and investments between India and ASEAN, secretary general of FICCI Amit Mitra said: "Till now there has been a moderate impact on bilateral trade ties. The survey reveals there has not been any effect of catastrophic nature."
Of the total 108 companies who responded to the survey, which takes into account both the exports and imports, 46 per cent were not at all affected by SARS.
Among the 54 per cent affected, 62 per cent had only a less than 10 per cent decline in revenue realisation and 69 per cent had less than 10 per cent decline in profit margins compared to the corresponding period last year.
Referring to the future trend of business, the survey said more than 56 per cent of the respondents had adopted a 'wait and watch' policy regarding doing business in the region.
Fifty four per cent were expecting a moderate effect of SARS on revenue growth in the near future. Another 45 per cent said extension of present activities would have a moderate effect, while 38 per cent said expansion into new areas would also be affected.
Giving some good news for domestic industry, Mitra said: "Human capital related sectors like IT, HRD, animation and areas that involve the human touch like meat products, food processing and consultancy, are some areas where we can expect some immediate trade upsurge due to companies diverting from the affected countries to India."
FICCI plans infrastructure to tackle SARS-like outbreaks
FICCI said on Friday it was considering setting up world-class clinical testing labs and developing necessary infrastructure for R&D to tackle any SARS like outbreaks.
"We will soon meet the health minister on the issue of setting up clinical testing labs once we bring together the entire range of public and private stakeholders who would form the nucleus for the initiatives," Mitra said.
"The country has vast business potential in the area of clinical testing labs which still remain unexplored. India is competent and will definitely emerge to be price competitive."
"Yet we do not have the facilities," Mitra said. "Why can't India be the first one to identify or break DNAs?"
He said FICCI was looking for tie-ups with international companies for the labs and also for the delivery process which again was a major business opportunity area.
FICCI is presently preparing the research base for the project and final decision was expected by September-October this year.
The objective would be to handle any outbreak in the future and also tap the business potential, Mitra said.
FICCI is already working on developing AIDS vaccine as part of its tie-up with International Aids Vaccine Initiative.