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Mission seeks Indian chances

WA’S biggest trade mission to India has set sail.

The mission, led by Commerce and Trade Minister Hendy Cowan, includes representatives from fourteen private sector organisations.

They will visit Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi.

WA exports to India were worth $431 million in 1998-99, second only to Queensland, whose trade was dominated by coal.

India is now WA’s tenth largest export market.

The WA Government is actively promoting trade with India and other countries on the Indian Ocean Rim.

It opened a trade office in Mumbai – the first established by any Australian State in India – and has supplemented this with the appointment of a local regional adviser in Chennai.

According to jeweller and prospector Charles Devenish, trade opportunities on the subcontinent are set to boom.

Mr Devenish commented that India had a relatively stable government and the Indian provinces seemed to be gaining more control of their affairs from the central government.

Infrastructure development in the region is also poised for growth.

There is even a chance that WA may become involved with the burgeoning Indian film industry, which produces more films per year than Hollywood.

The Indian film industry lacks one thing – space. This is something WA has in abundance.

Curtin University’s Indian Ocean Centre director Ken McPherson said agribusiness was also an exciting opportunity for WA companies.

“There is the potential for entering into joint ventures in India or selling packaged goods into India,” Dr McPherson said.

“Supermarkets are starting to grow. New Zealand has already been very proactive in selling their dairy goods.

“Supermarkets currently only apply to a small part of the Indian population but that’s probably a market the same size as Australia.”

“India’s business laws are clearer than in some countries and it has a slow, slightly old-fashioned banking system that is very solid,” he said.

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