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Minister To Lead Trade Mission To India

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton is to lead a trade mission to India, after attending the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Brunei in November. He will also visit Nepal.

Mr Sutton said the APEC Trade and Foreign Affairs Ministers' Meeting on November 12 and 13 would be an important build-up for the Leaders' meeting, held two days later.

"APEC has provided a valuable forum for regional cooperation in response to the challenges of globalisation and the new economy, bringing New Zealand closer to its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region and creating opportunities for all sectors of society by simplifying trade and developing people's skills."

From Brunei, Mr Sutton goes to India, where he will be leading a trade mission of about 20 businesspeople.

India is a significant market for New Zealand goods and services with potential for growth. For the year ending 31 March 2000 exports to India grew by 23% to $190 million.

Mr Sutton will visit four commercial centres in India ? Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi.

Business members of the delegation come mainly from the education, food processing, timber, electronics, and information technology sectors.

Mr Sutton said New Zealand offered Indian students a world class but affordable education and institutions were actively marketing in this sector. He will officially open the first New Zealand education fairs to be held in India, at which 11 education institutions will be represented.

As well, he said, New Zealand offered state of the art equipment, total solutions and advice on food processing and marketing. Timber suppliers could supply product for a number of value-added uses.

New Zealand would welcome investment from or joint ventures with the booming Indian industry, Mr Sutton said.

As well as helping businesspeople develop and strengthen trade links with India, Mr Sutton will also meet his ministerial counterpart, Murasoli Maran, to discuss trade access issues while in Delhi. In particular, the recent decisions by the Indian government to increase the tariffs on New Zealand apples and dairy products will be discussed.

Other topics of discussion will include the progress towards launching a new WTO round, perspectives on the agriculture negotiations and possible synergies between India and the Cairns Group on areas such as import and export subsidies.

Mr Sutton said he would encourage Indian authorities to accelerate the reduction of import tariffs and to eliminate the surcharges on imports.

>From India, Mr Sutton goes to Nepal, to support New Zealand's wool sales. Nepal is an important market for New Zealand, with exports estimated to account for somewhere around $45 million, with a large proportion of shipments transhipped through Calcutta.

It will also be the first New Zealand Ministerial visit to Nepal for some years.

Mr Sutton leaves New Zealand on November 11 and returns on November 26.

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