Trade Minister Departs For India Today

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith departs for India today to lead New Zealand's first trade mission to the subcontinent since 1986.

"With many Asian economies in recession, but with India experiencing sound levels of economic growth thanks to its gradual economic liberalisation, New Zealand exporters are giving the subcontinent greater attention," he said.

"In the year to June, New Zealand's exports to India increased 34% to $164 million and New Zealand business wants to build on that.

"Wool has traditionally been New Zealand's main export to India, but timber has taken off, and exports of coal and dairy products are also up considerably. In addition, we recently gained access for kiwifruit for the first time as a result of Indian commitments under the Uruguay Round agreement.

"We are now negotiating early access for apples and are seeking further reductions in forestry tariffs and the inclusion of radiata pine on an exempted list of plantation timbers for use in public building construction.

"There is also great potential to attract more Indian students to New Zealand with only around 110 of the 45,000 Indian students studying abroad currently choosing New Zealand."

Dr Smith will be accompanied by 24 businesspeople from the India/New Zealand Business Council including representatives from our wool, construction, banking, transport and education sectors.

Dr Smith will give a keynote speech to the Eighth Session of the Joint India/New Zealand Business Councils in New Delhi on Monday, and be Chief Guest at the AGM of the Indian Woollen Mills Federation in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Ministerial calls have been arranged with the Minister of State for Finance, the Minister of Textiles, the Minister of Power and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

In Mumbai, Dr Smith will meet with representatives of the Maharashtra State Government, including the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Minister of Agriculture.

Functions with key businesspeople in both New Delhi and Mumbai have also been arranged, as has a trade and investment promotion for the Mumbai financial community.

Returning to New Zealand, Dr Smith will stop in Singapore for a meeting with Trade Minister Lee Yock Suan.

Dr Smith arrives back in New Zealand on Friday 16 October.