FTA on agenda for India Commerce Minister visit
Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade
22 May 2008
Free Trade Agreement on agenda for first visit of India’s Commerce Minister
A Free Trade Agreement with India will be top of the agenda during a meeting with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath today, Trade Minister Phil Goff said.
“India’s economy is growing fast and there is increasing interest from New Zealand businesses looking at the trade possibilities,” Mr Goff said.
“Bilateral trade between the countries has grown rapidly in the past three years, albeit from a small base. Two-way trade is worth around $630 million a year, and there are excellent prospects for further expansion – in the education sector and tourism, as well as primary products.
“Minister Nath and I will discuss progress on a joint study into a bilateral FTA, following the second meeting of an officials’ Joint FTA Study Group today.
“India and New Zealand have economies which complement each other in many ways, including in agriculture.
“A comprehensive, high quality agreement presents significant potential benefits for both countries, including by removing tariff and non-tariff barriers and by providing a mechanism to help address food security challenges that are an increasingly pressing challenge for the international community.
“The visit also provides a timely opportunity to discuss the status of the Doha WTO Round, given the release of the latest agriculture and non-agriculture negotiating texts this week,” Mr Goff said.
“Minister Nath’s first visit to New Zealand is the latest in a growing number of high level visits between New Zealand and India, reflecting the increasing importance of the relationship to both of our countries.
“The meeting between Minister Nath and me in Auckland this evening follows discussions we held in New Delhi a year ago, and earlier this month in Bali.
“While in New Zealand Minister Nath will also meet with a number of business groups and officials and will be accompanied by a large delegation of Indian business representatives.
“Visits such as these also provide an excellent opportunity for New Zealand to be able to demonstrate to India our agri-technology and high-tech business expertise, which can be of great benefit to India,” Mr Goff said.
This visit follows on from the recent signing of the New Zealand-China FTA, good progress on bilateral trade talks with Korea and the announcement last week that New Zealand and Japan will embark on a study of the benefits of a bilateral economic partnership agreement.