17 Nov 2013

Human rights record not a barrier to trade says Key

12:10 pm on 17 November 2013

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says Sri Lanka's human rights record and a dispute over a milk product should not stand in the way of a trade relationship between the two countries.

New Zealand has signed a Dairy Cooperation agreement with Sri Lanka, six months after Sri Lanka restricted dairy imports because it said Fonterra milk contained the chemical DC D.

As part of the agreement, New Zealand will give advice to Sri Lankan farmers in return for access to the market there.

Mr Key, who is in Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Goverment meeting, told the Q+A programme on TVNZ that many of New Zealand's trading partners don't have the same high human rights standards as this country.

But, he said, most are moving in the right direction and it makes sense to have a relationship with them and encourage them.