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India lowers coal and wool tariffs: good news for Australian coal and wool exporters.

Reductions in India's coal and wool tariffs have paved the way for increased exports from Australia and more exports means more jobs, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Tim Fischer said today.

The tariff on thermal coal has been halved to 10% , while the tariff on coking coal with ash content below 12 % has been reduced from 5% to 3% The tariff on imports of raw apparel wool has been reduced from 25% to 20% and the tariff on wool tops from 50% to 40%

Coal and wool exports comprise around 70% of our total exports to India, with coal being our main export commodity valued at $710 million in 1996. In the same year, Australian raw wool exports were valued at $ 131 million, with prospects for increased growth.

Two way trade between Australia and India was around $1.8 billion in 1996, and is expected to double over the next five years.

"I am pleased the Indian Government's 1997-98 Budget continues the process of economic liberalisation and tariff reform already underway in India," Mr Fischer said.


"Coal is Australia's principal export commodity to India and India is Australia's largest market for coking coal after Japan. The tariff reductions will help facilitate growth in coking coal exports in line with industrial development.

"There is also potential for growth in exports of thermal coal to meet increasing demand in the power industry.


"India is a wool market of increasing importance to Australian exporters - they already import more raw wool from Australia than anywhere else. The International Wool Secretariat estimates that between 1994 and 2005 the volume of apparel wool consumed by Indian mills will increase by at least 130 per cent, from 24 million kilograms in 1994 to 55 million kilograms in 2005."

Mr Fischer said with lower wool tariffs, Australian wool exporters have an excellent opportunity to gain better access to the Indian domestic clothing market.