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Chennai, June 7

AUSTRALIA and India, particularly South India, can establish strong trade ties in infrastructure, energy, services, agriculture and food processing, according to Mr Alexander Downer, the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister.

At a meeting organised by the Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce (IACC) today, he said that among the Indian ports, Chennai and Tuticorin are closest to Australia.

India could use Australian expertise in the energy sector and for the proposed LNG terminal at Chennai.

There was also a positive perception about India among the companies in Australia, he said.

According to a State Government release, Mr Downer, who met the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms J. Jayalalithaa, earlier in the day, had told her that he would facilitate involvement of Australian expertise in the proposed LNG terminal at Ennore and the southern gas grid.

Application of Australian techniques in lignite mining, rich deposits of which are available in Tamil Nadu, is another area of collaboration, he said.

Speaking to newsperson following the meeting, the IACC Director, Mr C. Sarat Chandran, said that in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Western Australia IACC would help in recruitment of engineers from India with expertise in civil construction, oil and gas, mining and mechanical engineering to work in projects there.

The IACC has received requests from nine Australian companies seeking partners for outsourcing operations.

These are from a range of areas such as financial services, legal transcription, airlines, and health services.

Leading textile retail brands such as David Jones, Target, Country Road, Little Label, and Lowes are setting up buying operations in India as Australian companies diversify their buying source from China, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 8, 2005)
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