Historical ties don't always predict future ties, but India represents potential with a capital 'P'.
Local mainstream businesses looking for global growth will find the going a lot easier if they tap into ethnic communities within New Zealand, delegates at an Asean business forum in Auckland were told today.
The forum – hosted by the Office of Ethnic Affairs – was aimed at helping New Zealand exporters take advantage of the opportunities created by free trade agreements with Asean nations.
Prime Minister John Key will be asked this weekend to sign up to an ambitious bid to create what could become the largest multi-national free trade agreement in the world.
The East Asia Summit brings together 10 south east Asian nations under the Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) banner and six others -- China, Japan, India, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand -- to discuss moves to create a pan-Asia trading bloc to rival and eventually eclipse the European Union.
The New Zealand-China free trade agreement, which garnered so much media hype for months on end, has been quietly exceeded in scope and quality by a newly-minted deal between New Zealand, Australia and Asean, which pulls back the curtain on a market of 575 million people.
The timing of the signing of the deal (last Friday night New Zealand time in Thailand) is exquisite because it will apply positive pressure to Asian economic giants such as Korea, India and Japan to join the party.
Free-trade agreement negotiations with Asean were concluded in Singapore yesterday, with the final agreement expected to be inked in December.
The Asean-Australia-New Zealand FTA will have a huge impact, with two-way trade between the member countries rising to $US 48 billion last year.
The deal covers goods, investment, and trade in services, financial services, telecommunications, electronic commerce, and movement of natural persons, intellectual property, competition policy and economic co-operation.