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World Economic Forum and working visit to India

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Prime Minister of Australia

Media Release

World Economic Forum and Working Visit to India

15 January 2009

The Prime Minister and Treasurer will undertake a two day working visit to the World Economic Forum in late January to promote the need for a coordinated international response to the global financial crisis.

The Prime Minister and the Treasurer will use the World Economic Forum to continue to promote the comparative strengths of the Australian economy during this severe economic downturn.

Over 40 world leaders and many corporate leaders will participate in this important meeting of the WEF, where the major focus will be to discuss the key challenges facing the world and the global economy in 2009.

Prior to the World Economic Forum, the Prime Minister will make an official working visit to India on January 28. India is now becoming one of Australia’s significant economic partners.

The Prime Minister will use the World Economic Forum to engage with political and corporate leaders to discuss the world’s response to the financial and broader economic crisis.

The World Economic Forum is also an opportunity to map out the way forward for the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Doha round negotiations.

Further, the Prime Minister will engage with world leaders on climate change and will emphasise Australia’s commitment to securing an effective post-Kyoto outcome.

The World Economic Forum will take place in Davos, Switzerland and the Prime Minister will attend from January 30 to 31.

During his one day visit to India, the Prime Minister will undertake talks with Indian Prime Minister, the Hon Dr Manmohan Singh, and his cabinet ministers, on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues including economic cooperation, security, the global financial crisis and climate change.

The Rudd Government is committed to taking its relationship with India to a higher level and engaging with India on a long-term, strategic basis.

The Prime Minister will also address a business event to be attended by key Indian business figures and representatives of Australian companies in India.

Australia and India have a significant economic relationship which has grown steadily in recent years.

India is the world’s twelfth largest economy and was one of the fastest growing over the past decade.

India is Australia’s eleventh largest two-way trade partner, with total two-way goods and services trade in 2007-08 valued at $13.9 billion, and the potential to increase considerably, including in sectors such as ICT, biotechnology, education and tourism.

Australia is the second most popular destination for Indian students seeking an education overseas, with more than 85,000 enrolments by Indian students in Australian institutions in the year to September 2008.

On 27 January, the Prime Minister will also visit Papua New Guinea for a special meeting of Pacific Islands Forum leaders hosted by Sir Michael Somare, to consider the situation in Fiji.

Pacific leaders agreed at their meeting in Niue in August 2008 that this meeting was needed because of the interim Fijian Government’s refusal to hold elections by March 2009.

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As agreed in August, Pacific Islands Forum leaders will consider special measures in relation to Fiji to encourage a return to democracy, which is essential to a stable and prosperous future for the people of Fiji and the Pacific.

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