Fleming goes in to bat for Key over trade with India

By Fran O'Sullivan

Prime Minister John Key had a New Zealand cricketer on hand to create additional theatre as he launched the Government's strategy to increase trade with India.

Former Black Caps captain Stephen Fleming regaled a business audience at The Cloud on Auckland's Queens Wharf yesterday with stories of how he and Key had captured the Indian media's attention by playing a bit of cricket while on the Prime Minister's trade mission to India.

The big turnout from the NZ corporate and Indian business communities yesterday lapped the stories up, but they were also impressed with the bold goals Key unveiled to grow New Zealand's bilateral trade and investment with India.

Key said New Zealand needed to make the most of the opportunities that India presents following its emergence as a major Asian power and economic hub. India is the world's 10th largest economy. Its economic growth rate is second only to China's among the world's major economies.

"Two-way trade is worth more than $1.2 billion per year and India has become our third largest source of international students and our 10th largest source of visitors," said Key.

The India strategy has six goals:

* Grow merchandise exports to India by at least $2 billion by 2015.

* Grow services trade with India by an average of 20 per cent a year.

* Improve the bilateral investment framework and facilitate the growth of bilateral investment.

* Attract and retain skilled migrants from India who are able to make an effective contribution to New Zealand's economic base.

* Engage more deeply with India on regional and global issues that will impact on New Zealand's future prosperity and security.

* Raise the profile of New Zealand's value proposition in India through a series of conscious steps, from enhanced cricket diplomacy to increased political contact with India.

- NZ Herald

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