India-New Zealand FTA to help forge business partnerships

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India and New Zealand stand to gain through cooperation in a number of sectors including post harvest technologies, renewable energy, animation films and education, and the proposed bilateral free trade agreement could help forge business ties, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma has said. 

"The proposed FTA would deliver a broad range of benefits to both countries. It would definitely lead to additional trade flows and economic gains," Sharma said at a luncheon meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and businessmen from both sides organised by industry chambers CII, Ficci and Assocham on Tuesday. 

Five rounds of negotiations on the FTA have already been carried out with the two sides hopeful that the agreement would be concluded soon. "Our partnership is growing and that is the reason we are very keen for the progress in the FTA . We hope it will be concluded by 2012," New Zealand PM John Key said. 

New Zealand is keen on gaining greater access to India's market for dairy products and wooden items and India seems willing to oblige. Sharma said that the FTA would provide New Zealand the opportunity to emerge as a substantial supplier in the dairy, wood and wool products sectors. India, on the other hand wants New Zealand to offer a more liberal visa regime and employment opportunities to its professionals. 

Bilateral trade between India and New Zealand is a low $ 1 billion with the balance in favour of New Zealand. The two countries hope to treble trade to $ 3 billion in the next four years.

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