Economy

South Australia-India trade is a natural fit, says SA trade minister

Shared interests, including a love of cricket, language and history as a British colony makes trade relations, between India and South Australia a natural fit, the SA Trade, Industries and Veterans' Affairs Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith has told a CEDA forum in Adelaide.

"Like South Australia, India has a diverse and sophisticated economy," he said.

"I was interested to note from my visit there that we get each other's jokes; we sort of have this common background both having been colonies of Great Britain… and we could probably learn a bit about the Queen's English from spending more time talking to Indians."

Mr Hamilton-Smith said that India's economy is developing quickly which will open opportunities for South Australia.

"I was in India last year and I saw first-hand that India is growing into an economic super power faster than any of us can imagine," he said.

"India has enjoyed annual growth rates averaging 8 per cent in recent years and this is expected to continue."

The South Australia-India Advisory Council, with leaders from industry, education and government and strategic advice from Mr Brian Hayes QC, will build on developing the state's ties with India and identify emerging trade opportunities, he said.

India is already SA's fourth largest goods export market and the second largest education export market with more than 2000 students currently enrolled in Adelaide.

Mr Hamilton-Smith said the South Australia-India engagement strategy targeted energy and natural resources, education and training, aerospace and defence, water and clean tech as the most appropriate areas for shared growth.

With 40 per cent of the world's uranium reserves (equal to 80 per cent of Australia's uranium reserves) and 85 cubic feet of unconventional gas reserves, South Australia was likely to have significant opportunities to grow its minerals exports to India, subject to the uranium safeguards agreement being signed.

"But it is our diverse knowledge-rich economy that also attracts India as a trading partner and I think we have so much more to offer each other than commodities alone, important as they are," Mr Hamilton-Smith said.

Both countries recognised that being smart and developing intellectual property was the way to prosperity rather than competition based on the lowest costs of production, he said.

South Australia, as the nation's defence state, would explore opportunities to export submarines, air warfare destroyers, air craft and aero engines, naval systems, land systems electronics and homeland security technologies to India as part of the India Strategy, the forum heard.

"There's also enormous shared potential in clean tech," he said.

"Like South Australia, India has its challenges and opportunities in terms of the environment.

"We have a lot to offer there, we have Australia's strongest renewable energy sector - 30 per cent of our power comes from wind and solar and we have attracted 50 per cent of Australia's wind investment."

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