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Friday, Sep 20, 2002

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Indiatech fair to be held in Melbourne

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, Sept. 19

THE Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC), after successfully organising its exclusive `Indiatech' fairs (Indian engineering exhibitions overseas) in Kenya, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Venezuela and the UK (Birmingham), has now selected Melbourne, Australia, as the venue for the seventh three-day Indiatech fair, beginning from September 25.

The council has, for 2002-07, set an export target of $175 million (Rs 860 crore) for Australia and $30 million (Rs 148 crore) for New Zealand. The estimated growth rates are put at 20 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.

EEPC has set a target of $10.5 billion for the period 2002-07, with an average growth rate of 12 per cent, the same as it is for the country's exports during the next five years ($80 billion by 2007). Engineering exports during 2001-02 was $6 billion, marginally lower than that in the previous year.

The fairs are primarily meant to showcase the story of the Indian engineering industry — its emergence from being that of a supplier of low value, labour-intensive products in the past to that of a supplier of technologically advanced items, comparable to that in developed countries. The Melbourne fair is being organised with active support from the Indian High Commission in Australia and the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a premier industry in Victoria, Australia.

Addressing newspersons here on the various facets of the Melbourne fair, Mr M.C. Shah, Chairman, organising committee of Indiatech exhibition and former chairman of EEPC, said the event was being supported financially by the Ministry of Commerce under its market access initiative (MAI) scheme. Clarifying further, he said each exhibitor was being provided with a ready to use booth of 12 sq.m. free of cost.

Mr Shah said EEPC had identified Australia and New Zealand as potential markets for the export of engineering goods, projects and services, especially considering that India's engineering exports to Australia had remained stagnant, hovering around $70 million (Rs 336 crore) and that to New Zealand at $8 million (Rs 38 crore) over the last five years.

The overall engineering exports from India, however, have grown by 38 per cent during this period. Mr Shah said Indian engineering exports formed a meagre 0.2 per cent of Australia's imports, and the overall trade balance was now in favour of Australia and New Zealand.

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