New Zealand looks forward to signing FTA with India

Washington D.C., Apr. 1 (ANI): New Zealand has expressed hope of signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India in the near future.

Briefing the media post the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his New Zealand counterpart John Key on the sidelines of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson

Vikas Swarup said both sides discussed bilateral cooperation in trade, technology, tourism and education.

“Discussions than turned to trade issues, the New Zealand Prime Minister said that they had concluded successful Free Trade

Agreement with China few years back and he was very keen on New Zealand signing an FTA with India as well,” said Swarup.

“Of course, he recognised that this is a prospect for a long-term, immediate term, their interest is RCEP (Regional

Comprehensive Economic Partnership) negotiations with ASEAN come to successful conclusion at an early date,” he added.

Swarup also said that Prime Minister Key during the discussion also threw light on the Indian community staying in New Zealand.

Swarup said the New Zealand Prime Minister pointed out that more foreign students were flocking to his nation since his government had permitted the foreign students to work 20 hours a week.

Prime Minister Modi on his part expressed that he would like more Indian students to study in New Zealand.

Prime Minister Modi urged his counterpart to launch more regressive and proactive campaigns in Indian universities to attract more Indian students similar to that of Australia and Singapore.

Prime Minister Modi also expressed his interest in having dairy technology from New Zealand.

“New Zealand is one of the world leaders in food and daily technology. PM said that India is largest producer of milk but when it comes to processing milk we are not so good. So, New Zealand could find market in Indian particularly now that the food processing sector has been enabled to obtain 100 percent FDI,” Swarup said.

Both leaders also discussed tourism.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand said that Bollywood has done a lot to promote tourism in his country, adding that many tourists now visit the country very often.

“In fact, he said that he met Shah Rukh Khan,” added Swarup.

The two Prime Ministers also underscored direct flights between both nations.

“Currently, I believe Singapore airlines is providing third country service to New Zealand and there is no direct connection between Indian and New Zealand,” said Swarup.

India and New Zealand share a common historical connection and have cordial and friendly relations.

The two countries have been fellow travelers in their commitment to disarmament, global peace, North-South Dialogue, human rights, ecological preservation and combating international terrorism.

The people-to-people contacts have been in focus since migration from India to this country began at the turn of the last century, and a sizeable population of Indian origin (estimated about 174,000) has made N Zealand its permanent home.

Tourism and sporting links, particularly in cricket, hockey and mountaineering, have played a significant role in fostering goodwill between the two countries. (ANI)

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