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India Free Trade Agreement Priority For National

Achieving a Free Trade Agreement with India will be a major strategic priority for a National Government, National Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“India is one of the most important countries in the world and New Zealand, in my view, is the best country in the world, so it makes sense that our two nations deepen their ties and co-operate more.

“With a population of more than 1.4 billion people, India’s economy grew by $560 billion last year and by 2030 India is expected to become the third largest economy in the world.

“Despite Labour launching a policy in 2020 called ‘India – New Zealand 2025, Investing in the Relationship,’ two-way trade between our two countries has declined since 2017 – from $2.8 billion to $2.3 billion. By comparison, two-way trade with China amounts to $30 billion.

“Australia has just signed a Free Trade Agreement with India and the UK are close to signing one too. Yet Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has said that a Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and India is no longer a priority.

“Well, it might not be for a Labour government, but it will be for a National government that I lead.

“India provides a massive opportunity for New Zealand. There are reciprocal opportunities in a number of areas including foreign direct investment, employment opportunities, educational exchanges, and definitely for trade.

“New Zealand used to work hard and creatively to be seen in the world, but under Labour New Zealand has become more insular and inward looking.

“A government I lead will be absolutely committed to delivering a productive, entrepreneurial economy – where we pay our way in the world, bring the cost of living back under control, and lift incomes for all. The opportunities for trade in the 21st century are incredible.”

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