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WA signs MOU on India trade

TWO weeks after a leading futurist advised Australian company directors to take greater notice of India as a trade destination, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the State Government, the Indian Government and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME), to enhance an already growing trade relationship. State Development Minister Alan Carpenter said the MOU would provide Western Australia with an avenue to increase engagement with one of the world’s rapidly emerging economies. “India’s growing strategic importance and continuing economic expansion means it is set to become one of Australia’s key regional and bilateral partners,” Mr Carpenter said in a statement. The signing of the MOU follows an address by leading futurist Marvin Cetron regarding India’s prospects of growing into a more dominant regional economic power than China at the annual Australian Institute of Company Directors Conference held in Perth recently. Mr Cetron urged directors to take advantage of India’s investment into information technology, relatively stable democratic government and the English language, which he expects will help it become Asia’s economic powerhouse in the coming decades. After a visit to Perth by Indian Government representatives in February last year, the Department of Industry and Resources (DoIR) initiated the MOU in collaboration between the Department of Conservation and Land Management and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA, with the Indian Environment and Forests Ministry, Mines Department and Indian Mineral Federation. In further support of the MOU, a delegation from DoIR visited India in March last year to assess the growing potential for bilateral trade and investment within the resource and oil and gas sectors. “I am encouraged by the opportunities that India presents for WA in the supply of mining services and believe we can promote future programs of cooperative exchange through the MOU framework,” Mr Carpenter said. India has now overtaken the UK to become Australia’s sixth largest export market, and WA’s fourth largest, worth more than $2.8 billion last financial year, according to the Minister. Chamber of Minerals and Energy director of Policy and External affairs, David Parker said the MOU was signed to take advantage of India’s strong growth. “The MOU shows significant intent from all parties,” Mr Parker said. The MOU was signed at the CME’s launch of its annual publication Bedrock 2005: Expanding Horizons, which presents a long-term vision for the WA minerals and energy industry. The CME report predicted growth in Western Australia’s resources sector of between 50 and 75 per cent over the next decade, but only if major stakeholders in the industry fully grasp the opportunities. The report encourages regulators, governments and the community to embrace the future of the industry, which contributes a majority share of State exports, according to the Department of Industry and Resources.

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