Fostering Trade Links

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Australian leaders continue to travel to India seeking commercial opportunities 
Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said Australia and India were on the cusp of a new dawn in their commercial relationship as he officially wrapped up Australia Business Week in India (ABWI) recently.
“There is something special going on in India,” Mr Robb said, at the conclusion of the week-long roadshow designed to boost trade and investment between the two countries

During the visit the Minister also launched the Australia Pavilion at Vibrant Gujarat 2015 – a leading trade and investment event in India which attracts up to 50,000 delegates from around the globe.
“The enormous vision of Prime Minister Modi has excited many people. Australia is looking forward to being a part of this very important period in India’s re-emergence as a significant power,” Mr Robb said.
The Minister had a series of high-level government meetings including with Prime Minister Modi, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and a number of other senior ministers.
He led a trade mission to India of more than 450 Australian business leaders, including Rio Tinto chief Sam Walsh, Woodside CEO Peter Coleman and Hancock Prospecting chair Gina Rinehart. ABWI visited eight cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh and Kolkata.
“This high-level delegation has shown the Indian business community that Australians are willing, as we would say, to put skin in the game,” MrRobb said.
“This visit has been an important step towards unlocking the vast untapped potential in the relationship between our countries.”
A number of deals building business bonds between the nations were secured during the week  including agreements between Woodside and the Adani Group on LNG supply, Wollongong University and Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University on mining excellence, the National Australia Bank and the State Bank of India and the SAE Institute and Reliance Media in the film sector.

Mr Robb used the visit to meet a number of Indian business leaders, including the Adani Group’s Gautum Adani, Mukesh Ambani, from Reliance Industries, and Tata Consulting chief Natarajan Chandrasekaran.  He also welcomed Sam Walsh as Australian co-chair and Gautum Adani as the Indian co-chair of a revitalised Australia India CEO Forum.
“Our top business leaders will be critical to the success of this relationship. I’m confident they’re up to the task of building trade and investment, which will create jobs and increase prosperity for the people of our countries,” Mr Robb said.
Mr Robb welcomed the strong reiteration from Prime Minister Modi of his commitment to finalising a comprehensive bilateral trade agreement by the end of this year.
“I will keep coming back to India to ensure we get our negotiations over the line this year. This is a key priority for both our Prime Ministers,” he said.
While Minister Robb was meeting with various leaders, Premier of NSW Mike Baird visited Ahmedabad, New Delhi and Mumbai as part of a four-day visit to India. In Ahmedabad, Mr Baird visited a Gandhi Ashram before signing a historic agreement with the Indian state of Gujarat, that will continue to strengthen cultural, trade and diplomatic relations between NSW and India.
Meanwhile, a new Memorandum of Understanding between NSW and Gujarat has come into effect after Premier Baird and the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Anandiben Patel, attended an official signing in Ahmedabad during Baird’s tour of India.
Premier Baird said the agreement concludes negotiations initiated by the NSW Government in 2013 and allows both states to share knowledge and expertise across five key areas.
“This historic agreement marks the start of a new chapter between NSW and Gujarat and outlines our mutual desire to share knowledge in the areas of education, skills development, water security, urban technology and sustainable urban development,” Premier Baird said.
“Gujarat is undergoing a major urban transformation. There are plans to build eight cities across the state, which is home to 6.2 million mostly rural residents.
“Our cultural and historic connections to India place us in a fortunate position. We have an opportunity to share knowledge and learn from each other during this major development drive, which will in turn benefit both our state economies.”
The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), which has similarities to Sydney’s Barangaroo project, is currently under construction in Ahmedabad.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has outlined a plan to build 100 Smart Cities featuring high-quality infrastructure and communications technologies to attract the world’s brightest minds. GIFT is India’s first Smart City under construction and Prime Minister Modi considers it the model for the nation’s development and reform.
“As part of the MOU, a delegation of planning experts from UrbanGrowth and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority will travel to Gujarat to provide insights into sustainable urban planning to the Indian state as it grows and develops,” Premier Baird continued.
“We also have much to learn from how Gujarat is meeting the challenges of its urban growth, and this MOU provides the basis for knowledge and information sharing.”
India is currently New South Wales’ third largest source of international students. In September 2014 there were more than 12,000 Indian students enrolled in NSW tertiary institutions.
“This agreement will open pathways for a two-way exchange of students between NSW and Gujarat to give students a global experience and grow networks between our states,” Premier Baird said.
“Water security and clean technology are also increasing areas of concern across India and as part of our partnership with Gujarat we’ll share expertise to assist with waste water treatment and recycling,” Mr Baird said.

The trade visits from the Minister and Premier follow the successful visit to India last September by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to Australia, the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 28 years.
“As Prime Minister Modi said during his visit in November, India sees Australia as a major partner in every area of its national priorities. We are here to show that the Australian Government and Australian businesses and institutions are ready and willing to work with India to help its transformation into one of the world’s great economic powers,” Mr Robb said.
The Minister indicated he will also continue high-level discussions aimed at finalising a comprehensive bilateral trade agreement between Australia and India. Prime Ministers Abbott and Modi would like to see an agreement concluded by the end of 2015.
India is currently  Australia’s fifth largest export market and two-way trade between India and Australia is nearly $15 billion.

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