NZ-India FTA on table for President's visit

Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee (Reuters)
Indian President Shri Pranab Mukherjee (Reuters)

Pushing a Free Trade Agreement will be top of the agenda when the Indian President makes his first trip to New Zealand this weekend.

Shri Pranab Mukherjee and his delegation will arrive in Auckland on Saturday for a number of events, including talks with Prime Minister John Key.

Mr Key says the visit will be a good opportunity to continue to talk trade and to "discuss where we're going".

"India has demographics very similar to China," he says.

"We do a lot less business with India than we do with China, and a lot less business with India relative to the size of the economy in India, so we're keen to really push that closer economic cooperation at some point."

Mr Key hoped he'd be able to visit India later this year to continue the talks kicked off by the Prime Minister in 2011.

The relationship between the two countries is strong, with more than $2 billion traded in goods last year.

There are more than 160,000 Kiwis of Indian origin in New Zealand, while more than 23,000 Indian students who came to study last year.

The tenth round of discussion on the possible FTA ended in February last year.

During Mr Mukherjee's visit, he'll receive an official welcome at Government House and attend a State dinner hosted by the Governor-General.

He will leave New Zealand on May 2.