31 Jan 2012

Russia hopes NZ trade deal will open other doors

7:31 am on 31 January 2012

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says a free trade agreement with New Zealand will lay the foundation for deals with other Asia - Pacific countries.

Russian negotiators have been working on an agreement for more than a year and Mr Lavrov expects it to be signed later this year.

He says the agreement will benefit both countries and will hopefully encourage others in the region.

Mr Lavrov also says a plan was signed with Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully for regular meetings between Russia and New Zealand.

However, Labour leader David Shearer says any trade deal must include a clause that ensures profitable New Zealand assets can't be sold to foreign interests.

The visit was a first by a Russian Foreign Affairs Minister to New Zealand. Mr Lavrov is also visiting Australia and Fiji.