New Zealand in talks for free trade agreement with India

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Wellington, Feb 1 (ANI): To benefit from India's economic growth, New Zealand has started negotiations for a free trade agreement with New Delhi.

Trade Minister Tim Groser said the agreement will put New Zealand in a prime place, and announced that the negotiations started from Switzerland where he met Indian Commerce Minister Anana Sharma.

The pair was in Switzerland for a World Trade Organisation trade ministers meeting.

Groser said a deal held great promise for New Zealand businesses and negotiators would target the high barriers to trade, New Zealand Herald reports.

India had a population of more than one billion and was expected to be the third-largest economy in the world by 2025.

Stephen Jacobi, executive director of the New Zealand International Business Forum, said it was good news talks were finally under way after the lengthy process of studies leading up to them.

"We are knocking another big one off, but it will be challenging. This is negotiating with a very large partner and one which we don't have very well-developed trading relationship with," he said.

India has not been one of New Zealand's traditional trading partners, partly because the high trade barriers on major New Zealand exports, such as wood products and agriculture, had held back trade.

Groser said that despite barriers, India was one of New Zealand's fastest-growing markets and exports had tripled in the past decade. (ANI)

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