Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visits New Zealand

New Zealand is going to open a High Commission in Sri Lanka next year, to cement ties and increase business between the two countries.

Prime Minister John Key made the announcement after meeting with Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Government house today.

"Sri Lanka has embarked on a courageous course to rebuild the country after a generation-long civil war, and we are keen to support that process both politically and by growing our strong economic relationship," Key said.

"Establishing High Commissions in Wellington and Colombo in the next few years will help support that process."

Both countries have committed to reducing tariffs on goods, especially dairy. The island nation will pilot New Zealand's Farm IQ technology in Sri Lanka, cutting-edge New Zealand digital farm management and monitoring technology.

But Key said he's not in the business of putting Sri Lankan farmers out of business.

He's going to offer technical support in setting Fonterra type cooperatives in Sri Lanka, he said.

Later this afternoon the pair will visit Auckland Zoo, where they will see the elephans Anjalee and Burma, which were donated to New Zealand by Sri Lanka. Sir Don McKinnon will host the visit at the zoo.

The visit comes after Key went to Sri Lanka in February. Wickremesinghe arrived in NEw Zealand yesterday, and will be here until October 3.

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