New Zealand companies eyeing the New Caledonia market have welcomed plans for liberalised trade between the two economies.
New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, and the French territory's President, Harold Martin, have agreed to look at a deal similar to that between Canberra and Wellington.
Sally Round reports from Noumea.
"Mr McCully and Mr Martin announced the plans during talks in Noumea, the final stop of the minister's Pacific Mission. Trade is already strongly in New Zealand's favour but the minister says there are more opportunities in energy, infrastructure and agriculture. New Caledonia applies trade barriers to protect local industry and jobs but Mr McCully says now there is political will on board, trade officials will work out the detail to ease trade and help business people interact. New Caledonia wants closer links with New Zealand in tune with its policy of engagement with the region and the New Caledonian President stressed the countries' shared history and regional perspective. He showed New Zealand business people and politicians infrastructure developments including what is set to be France's largest urban development housing 24 thousand people."