10 May 2011

Groser pushes for fast-track FTA with India

7:27 am on 10 May 2011

New Zealand wants to fast-track free-trade talks with India, as politicians central to the negotiations meet this week.

After four rounds of trade talks with India, it's believed that within two years a free-trade deal could almost double two-way trade between the countries from its current value of $1.2 billion a year.

Trade Minister Tim Groser, who is meeting Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Tuesday, says he hopes the deal will be advanced.

"But these things are in the hands of the negotiators," he adds. "All we can do is try and push as fast and as far as we can."

Mr Groser says India is moving away from policies of high protection, and its market will play a huge role for New Zealand in 10 - 15 years' time.

India is experiencing rapid growth, as its economy expands by 8 - 10% of GDP each year, while New Zealand struggles to grow by as much as 2%.

New Zealand's main exports to India are logging and coal, and the government sees a huge opportunity for freeing up exports for agriculture products including dairy and wine.