India-New Zealand trade can grow four times to $4 billion in 10 years if a market-opening Free Trade Agreement is signed, New Zealand High Commissioner to India Rupert Holborow has said.
"At a conservative estimate, trade will become over four fold in ten years with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) going through," Holborow told PTI.
Duty-free access for its agri products like apple and kiwi as well as wine would be the key areas of interest for New Zealand, he said.
Holborow said India has high tariffs at both the Union and state levels that New Zealand would like to negotiate in the FTA.
"There are a range of very high import duties on apple, kiwi fruit and (especially) wine, both at the Union and state levels. These are the things we would like to discuss.." he said.
Negotiations on the FTA, which began in March, could take about a year to conclude
"It might take a year to go through," he added.
Holborow said the trade agreement was not only a tool to facilitate commerce between the two nations, but also a valuable diplomatic instrument.
"FTA has two purposes. It has a value in itself as a diplomatic tool irrespective of the end result. It is a very important diplomatic vehicle to strengthen relationship between the two countries," the High Commissioner said.
Of the $one-billion bilateral trade, New Zealand enjoys an advantage. Its exports to India are worth $700 million, whereas Indian exports are valued at $300 million.
After operationalising a FTA with ASEAN, the 10-nation South East Asian bloc and South Korea in January this year, India is negotiating a slew of such pacts with Australia, New Zealand, the European Union and Japan.