Press Release

16th India - Australia Joint Business Council
New Delhi

March 1, 2007

The India-Australia Joint Business council (JBC) was held on March 1, 2007 at New Delhi immediately after the Joint Ministerial Commission which was held on 28 Feb, 2007. The 16th Meeting of the India-Australia Joint Business Council was organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Mr Warren Truss, Hon’ble Minister for Trade of Australia led a 44-member business delegation for the meeting. Mr Warren Truss and Mr Kamal Nath, Hon’ble Minister for Commerce and Industry, Govt of India, addressed the JBC. as did Mr Brian Hayes, Chairman, Australia - India Business Council and Vikram Kapur, Chairman, India-Australia JBC. Present on the occasion were senior officials from the Indian and Australian Governments, including H. E. Mr P P Shukla, High Commissioner of India in Australia and H. E. Mr John McCarthy, High Commissioner of Australia in India , Mr Sujan Chinoy, Consul General of India, Sydney and Ms Deborah Stokes, First Asst Secretary, DFAT, Australia among others.

Mr Kamal Nath, Hon. Minister for Commerce & Industry and Mr Warren Truss, The Hon. Minister for Trade, Australia

Mr. Habil Khorakiwala, President FICCI, highlighted issues that impeded faster growth in Indo-Australian trade. These included restrictive Australian visa norms for businessmen from India. He called for opening up the Australian market for Indian mangoes, and mutual recognition of services and stated that the Australian Quarantine Inspection Services’ decision to tighten import controls on prawns and prawn products from India would adversely affect imports from India.

The Commerce and Industry Minister Mr. Kamal Nath invited Australian companies to tap the growing opportunities in India’s mining, farm and education sectors. Addressing the meeting Mr. Kamal Nath said: “The mining sector should be of great interest to Australians. The economies of India’s traditionally backward states - Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa - have the potential to grow from US$ 30 billion in 2003 to US$ 75 billion by 2015 if they tap their mineral wealth - and in the coming years”. He expected the Australian companies with their state-of-the-art clean coal and mining technologies to play a huge role in developing the wealth of these states.

Mr. Kamal Nath said that India was in the process of revitalizing its farm sector and was seeking massive investments in processing capabilities and cold chains. The farm sector stakeholders, he said, might have much to offer to India in latest farming methods and cropping patterns. “I believe that Australian food processing companies can play a big role in developing boutique crops in India such as canola, Chinese vegetables, grapes, organic wheat and berries,” he pointed out. Mr. Kamal Nath said the education sector also held vast scope for Australian firms and institutions.

L-R Mr Brian Hayes, Mr Vikram Kapur, signing the JBC Minutes
Standing L-R Mr .Sujan Chinoy, Mr Khorakiwala, Mr Warren Truss & Mr John Mcarthy

Mr. Truss, who led the largest-ever Australian business delegation to India, alluded to the synergies between the two countries that now needed to be translated into concrete business ties. For instance, he said, Australia has huge mineral and energy resources and India has huge demand in these sectors.

He said that food processing in India was an area of opportunities for Australian companies. He said he would initiate a major study in Australia on India’s food processing industries to determine how Australian companies could assist Indian companies in this sector.

Sectoral meetings were also held between Indian and Australian companies covering Legal & Financial Services, Resources / Infrastructure , Aviation , Business and Education Services and the ICT sector.

© 2003 Consulate General of India ,Sydney