K. Venugopal

Canberra, March 1

Australia today welcomed the liberalisation in the rules on captive mining announced in the Budget. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Alexander Downer, told visiting journalists from India that his Government would definitely be keen to see liberalisation in areas such as mining.

"Australian mining companies such as BHP Billiton, which is probably one of the largest mining companies in the world and Rio Tinto can bring a lot of investment and expertise to India," he said. "This is one of the areas where we can significantly upgrade our economic relationship."

Another area would be the deregulation of the retail sector allowing foreign investment. "You can have the major Australian retailers interested in investing in India," Mr Downer said.

He noted that the visit of the Australian Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, to India starting March 6 would see an enhancement of the bilateral relationship. There would be agreements signed on education, information technology, and on trade, he said. "It is a good relationship... I think this will strengthen it."

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 2, 2006)
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