New Zealand wants free trade agreement with India

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Mumbai, Mar 26 (UNI) New Zealand's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Biosecurity and Fisheries Jim Anderton today said the New Zealand Government wants to have a free trade agreement with India in order to export timber at competitive prices in India.

Speaking to UNI, Anderton, who is leading a trade delegation consisting of New Zealand based companies, said the timber available in New Zealand is of best quality and they will like to export the same to India at competitive prices as they are doing in China.

''We have a free trade agreement with the Chinese Government and will like to have the same atmosphere here as the Indian market is doing well and we will also like to reap some of the benefits of its developing economy,'' Mr Anderton said.

The Minister said the New Zealand Government is taking steps to increase timber trade with India, which at present has a turnover of 57 million dollars. The delegation will interact with the Indian companies for increasing the trade between the two countries.

The forest area in New Zealand is protected and is earmarked only for forests and is located in hilly regions that receive very heavy rainfall. The forests in New Zealand have three crops in a century, as compared to one in other countries and the industry takes steps to plant the same again, thereby protecting the forests.

New Zealand's High Commissioner to India Rupert Holborow said, ''The Indian Government is protecting its forest and is importing timber for construction and other industries and New Zealand's growing and well managed plantation timber resource can fulfill the demands.'' Mr Anderton, who is also a cricket enthusiast, said that there are many things similar between India and New Zealand and like others cheers India whenever they beat Australia in a game of cricket.

UNI JN NM PDT AS1933

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