India, Australia for boosting bilateral trade

Tuesday, 18 February 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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India and Australia Monday considered ways to boost bilateral investment and trade, which has risen 4.24 percent to $1 billion during April-October 2002-03 of the fiscal ending March 31.

NEW DELHI: The discussions took place during the eighth meeting of their joint ministerial commission here.

Commerce and Industry Minister Arun Jaitley and Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile will address the meeting here Tuesday.

Vinay Bansal, additional secretary in the commerce ministry, said though considerable progress had been made in enhancing bilateral trade, this did not reflect the true potential that exists between the two countries.

"We should endeavour to lay down the roadmap for further expansion and diversification of the economic cooperation," said Bansal.

Indian exports to Australia registered an impressive growth of 19.37 percent during April-October 2002-03 compared to the same period last year, the commerce ministry said in a statement issued here.

Australia ranks eighth in cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals approved by India from 1991 to October 2002, with the inflow increasing from $1.1 million in 1991 to $1.8 billion till October 2002.

Appraising the Australian delegation about India's liberal investment regime, Bansal said there was great potential in the areas of mining, metallurgy, information technology and food processing.

The three-day meeting would review the report of the joint working group on energy and minerals as well as on natural fibres and textiles.

It would also discuss enhancing cooperation in tourism and education.

Raising India's request for import access for mangoes into the Australian market, Bansal urged the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) officials to visit India as soon as possible.

In December, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed between the Export Inspection Council of India (EIC) and AQIS for recognising each other's food inspection and certification system.

Enhancing the scope of the MOU to cover other food products would also be discussed during the meeting, the commerce ministry stated.

Source: IANS

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