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New Zealand Pushing India FTA

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

15 June 2011

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, accompanied by Trade Minister Tim Groser and a 25-strong business delegation, will meet with key Indian individuals to discuss furthering bilateral trade and investment, with talks expected to focus on a proposed trade pact aimed at reducing tariffs.

During the official visit, Key will meet with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. The New Zealand government said that it expected discussions to be "wide-ranging, but likely to focus on making further progress on the New Zealand-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations".

In meetings between the countries' trade ministers in May, both sides called for the rapid conclusion of an agreement within an eight-to-ten month timeframe. It is anticipated that New Zealand will seek to expand its market reach in India for its industrial, agricultural, horticultural and wine industries. Indian Trade Minister, Shri Sharma said at the meeting that India seeks to build on its exports of pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, textiles and spices, and enhance cooperation on film making.

Key said: “The trade potential of the India market is huge and we have set a target of growing two-way trade from NZD1.28bn (USD1.04bn) to NZD3bn by 2014."

He added: “India is a rapidly rising player in the Asia-Pacific region, and we want to build on our already strong economic, social and sporting ties. This visit demonstrates the value New Zealand places on the relationship."

During the six-day tour, which begins on June 29, Key will also promote the government’s India strategy which aims to position India as a core political, economic and trade partner for New Zealand by 2015. The strategy has been developed by government agencies in consultation with business, exporters and academics.

As well as meetings in New Delhi, the delegation will meet Indian representatives in Agra and Mumbai.

TAGS: business | film finance | free trade agreement (FTA) | India | tariffs | manufacturing | New Zealand | trade

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