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The success of Australia’s long-term relationship with India will rely heavily on the commercial links that Australian businesses develop, the Minister for Trade, Warren Truss, said today.

Speaking at an Australia India Business Council’s luncheon in Adelaide commemorating the 60th year of Indian Independence, Mr Truss said India has become one of Australia’s most significant trading partners.

"India is Australia’s fastest-growing merchandise export market. Merchandise exports increased by an unprecedented 37 per cent to $11 billion in 2006-07, making India Australia’s fourth-largest export market," Mr Truss said.

"Earlier this year, I launched the Utsav Australia (Celebrate Australia) marketing program in India to boost commercial opportunities for Australian business and industry.

"Today, this program will launch into cyberspace. The new business portal, utsavaustralia.in, will showcase Australian industry expertise and service skills to the Indian business community.

"For Australian businesses, the unique portal will play an important role in generating business and partnership leads from India.

"For Indian businesses, the utsavaustralia.in site will showcase live business opportunities, increase efficiency in identifying Australian suppliers and initiate long-term commercial outcomes."

Mr Truss said the utsavaustralia.in site is another example of the Australian Government’s commitment to deepen Australia’s commercial engagement with India and to boost business opportunities.

"The utsavaustralia.in site will put Indian and Australian businesses in a unique position to capitalise on the growing commercial opportunities and translate them into winning business propositions.

"The Australian Government also is taking steps to sustain long-term commercial engagement with India at other levels.

"This dynamism is breaking new ground in bilateral relations.

"Last week, Prime Minister John Howard announced that Australia has agreed to allow the export of uranium to India, subject to several strict conditions.

"This decision will help India utilise reliable low emission energy sources like nuclear power to fuel its economic progress without creating unnecessary environmental challenges. In Australia, it will create new jobs and increase exports in the longer term."

Mr Truss said Australia was well-placed to participate in India’s impressive economic growth.

"Australian businesses have already carved out a niche by supporting India’s growth. For example, they are providing infrastructure design for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and education services for more than 40,000 Indian students in Australia," he said.

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