India-New Zealand FTA negotiations soon

Kamal Nath to inaugurate Carpet Expo tomorrowNew Delhi, Feb 20 : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, and his New Zealand counterpart Tim Groser today agreed on the need for an early commencement of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between both countries.

During a bilateral meeting here, both Ministers noted that the Joint Study Group (JSG) Report demonstrates considerable potential to substantially develop bilateral trade and an economic relationship through the FTA.

Nath said during 2007-08, India''s exports to New Zealand was valued at 159 million dollars and imports from New Zealand were 336 million dollars taking the total trade to around 0.5 billion dollars.

"In the current financial year, the bilateral trade has already reached 394 million dollars in the first seven months at a growth rate of 40 per cent," he added.

On the WTO Doha Round negotiations, Nath emphasised that India has been engaging constructively and actively with other fellow member countries for an early conclusion, provided the developed countries are willing to show necessary flexibility.

"It is expected that based on these negotiations, further revised texts would be brought out during March-April 2009," he added

Major items of India''s exports to New Zealand are gems and jewellery, medicines, textiles, iron and steel products tyres and parts of aeroplanes/helicopters. Major items of New Zealand''s exports are coal, wool, wood, metal waste/scrap, and raw skins/hides. (ANI)