28 Jun 2011

Top-level backing expected for India free trade deal

10:20 am on 28 June 2011

A free trade deal between New Zealand and India is expected to get backing from the highest level when the countries' leaders meet in New Delhi.

Prime Minister John Key is on a visit to India this week with the primary aim of fast-tracking negotiations.

High tariffs for New Zealand goods into India are seen as the main trade barrier at the moment - particularly for meat, horticulture and dairy products.

India has been progressively moving towards a more open market, but a free trade deal would give much greater, faster access for New Zealand producers and businesses.

With a population of more than one billion, food security is a driving motivation for India to enter such agreements.

Mr Key says the invitation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is clear signal of India's willingness to negotiate.

He says the talks will be given greater momentum if the leaders express their commitment to a free trade deal after Tuesday's meeting.