Condemning the global level terror, India and New Zealand on Tuesday expressed ``serious concern’’ over the spiralling crude oil prices which they said would fuel inflation and negatively impact the economies around the world posing threat to the food and energy security issue.
The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key expressed this concern with the visiting Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma during their bilateral meeting held here on Tuesday. Asserting that terror forces need to be condemned and the world must join hands to combat such forces, both said the recent developments in the Arab world and also in the African sub-continent were a matter of concern. ``the Prime Minister was of the view that the spiralling oil prices were leading to higher inflation impact and would in the long run prove to be a negative feature for many countries around the globe,’’ Mr. Sharma said during his interaction with the Indian journalists after this meeting with the New Zealand Prime Minister.
Briefing about his meeting, Mr. Sharma said Mr. Key had responded very positively to the issue raised by him for granting the working holiday scheme for the Indian population coming to New Zealand. This scheme is presently open for countries like Argentina and China. ``I had a very useful exchange of views covering the bilateral relations. We also discussed regional and global developments and further consolidation of the ties between the two countries. We are looking forward to the visit of the New Zealand Prime Minister to India next month,’’ he remarked.
Mr. Sharma said he also discussed with the Prime Minister the issue of early conclusion of the free trade agreement (FTA) and the present status of negotiations between the two countries on the issue. ``Both of us reviewed the process of the talks and the prime Minister expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far in the five rounds. We want the FTA talks to conclude expeditiously and my visit has given the required impetus to the talks,’’ he added. Mr. Sharma also had a bilateral with the New Zealand Trade Minister, Tim Groser where he reviewed the progress of FTA and discussed vital issue of further economic engagement.
Referring to the slow progress of the Doha round of WTO talks, Mr. Sharma said it was a matter of concern that the talks, after having progressed very well last year, have suddenly lost their momentum and expressed hope that the next round of inter-Ministerial to be held in Paris later this month would help revive the talks that a so crucial for the success, growth and prosperity of world trade. ``We cannot afford to be complacent on WTO talks and need to work in a positive direction. Collection efforts should be made to ensure that the Doha round concludes successfully under the mandate and as desired by the G-20 summit. Its success is the need of the hour,’’ he added.
Mr. Sharma said that for India the chapter on services in the FTA was crucial as it will provide greater access to the professionals from the country and ensure smooth movement for them. Mr. Sharma is presently on a two-nation tour to New Zealand and Australia and is leading a high level business delegation led by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). He will also hold bilateral talks with his counterparts in Australia and also review the progress to launch the FTA talks between India and Australia.