22 Nov 2015

NZ to invest more than $200m in SE Asia

3:20 pm on 22 November 2015

New Zealand will invest more than $200 million in South East Asia over the next three years, to boost trade and investment.

John key on the bridge at Parliament.

John Key said the government would help the 10 ASEAN nations respond to natural disasters. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Prime Minister John Key, who is at the East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur, said the agreement with the Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, would strengthen the country's ties with the fast growing region.

New Zealand is continuing to strengthen its relationship with ASEAN, which is home to more than 600 million people and with its combined economies tipped to be worth $US5.2 trillion by 2030.

That presents significant trade and investment opportunities.

The government is cementing its commitment to the region by spending more than $NZ200 million over three years in more scholarships, training, and exchanges for young leaders and budding entrepreneurs.

Mr Key said it would also offer trade and agricultural expertise, and help the 10 ASEAN nations respond to natural disasters.

PM hopes to rekindle FTA talks with India

The Prime Minister is hoping to rekindle free-trade talks with India.

John Key met his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in a one-on-one meeting at the East Asia Summit in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, last night.

Free-trade talks started in 2010, but have slowed in recent times.

Speaking before the meeting, Mr Key told reporters he would reiterate to Mr Modi that opening up access to New Zealand agricultural produce would not threaten the livelihoods of India's farmers.

He said small farmers in India would be concerned that New Zealand could put them out of business, but that would not be the case.

Mr Key said the way to resolve the issue would be to assure Mr Modi that there would be technology sharing which would ultimately make their farmers more productive.

He said India was also a member of the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact which, if settled, would also open up India's markets to exporters.