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Australia offers LNG supply, seeks lower tariff on coal, wool
February 18, 2003 18:02 IST
Australia on Tuesday offered to sell LNG to India even as it said that high tariffs in several areas including coal and wool were proving prohibitive in increasing two-way trade.
At a meet organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi, Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile said: "We can help India to develop an adequate energy supply including LNG. I will be meeting Petroleum Minister Ram Naik to discuss this issue apart from global security concerns in the oil sector."
The visiting minister, who is accompanied by a 50-member delegation, said though bilateral trade had grown at an average of over six per cent annually, there was a need to create the right kind of environment for business between the two sides.
"For Australians, India is sometimes a daunting place to do business - different from what we are used to, complex and occasionally, frustrating," he said adding there was a risk of missing opportunities if the conducive environment for business was not created.
Making out a case for lowering tariffs on coal and wool, he said, "If India lowered its tariffs, Australia would be in a stronger position to help meet the industry's rapidly growing demand for coal."
Similarly if tariffs were lowered on wool whose exports stood at $189 million during the last fiscal year, he said, "It will help in making India's textile exports more competitive."
Speaking on the occassion, Industry Minister Arun Jaitley said two sides could cooperate in the areas of mining, agri business, food processing, pharamceuticals, IT, chemicals and related products, infrastructure and tourism.
Referring to LNG, Vaile said India could purchase it from Australia at low freight costs and competitive prices.
"We are willing to offer as much as India can buy. Our prices are competitive. We have just competed in one of the most rigorous tenders and clinched a $25 billion deal to export LNG to China," he said.
The visiting minister sought bilateral cooperation in the areas of tourism, biotechnology and information technology.
Asking Indian business community to invest in Australia, he said there was a huge potential on investment front as two-way investment did not yet match the trade.
He lauded India's economic reforms as well as dual citizenship initiative.
Arun Jaitley raised issues relating to quarantine and inspection of agricultural and marine products to Australia.
Stressing on the need for boosting trade and investment between the two sides, Jaitley said there was a need to diversify export basket and increase investment in important sectors like IT, biotechnology, energy and minerals.
Refering to WTO mini-ministrial meeting held in Tokyo, Jaitley said India would continue to engage with its concerns on issues like market access and agriculture and non-agricultural (industrial) goods and services and the Doha development issues including implementation and special and differential issue and Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights.
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