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NZ talks up its outward looking stance

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/03/2017
Cows on New Zealand farm © Getty Images Cows on New Zealand farm

New Zealand is talking up its role as "an outward looking nation" as Food Safety Minister David Bennett heads to Sri Lanka with a business delegation.

He's leaving on Saturday, a day after Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston criticised an inward-focused US.

Dr Rolleston said US President Donald Trump's determination to promote American interests above all else could be devastating for New Zealand.

"This thinking will take global trade backwards and will ultimately be as damaging for the US," he said.

Sri Lanka has the richest per capita economy in South Asia and New Zealand dairy co-operative Fonterra already has a big business there.

Last month New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay confirmed New Zealand and Sri Lanka will progress discussions on new trade and investment opportunities, which could include a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.

Mr Bennett says New Zealand's relationship with Sri Lanka is stronger than ever.

"This is an exciting time to travel with some of our business leaders and create new opportunities for our nations," he says.

"Sri Lanka's economy is thriving, with the potential for New Zealand to increase not only its commodity trade, but other sectors including aviation and healthcare."

The capital, Colombo, has a large shipping port which services large freight lines that link to New Zealand via Singapore.

"New Zealand prides itself on being an outward looking nation, and this government is relentlessly pursuing opportunities for more local businesses to succeed abroad," Mr Bennett says.

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