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India and New Zealand celebrate ‘new phase’ as trade ties go hand in hand with security cooperation India-New Zealand
Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

India and New Zealand celebrate ‘new phase’ as trade ties go hand in hand with security cooperation

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 05 May 2024, 05:07 pm

While India's trade and commerce ties with the United States or Australia are on the forefront of news round the year, New Zealand is often ignored by media though the two nations have been historically close. In fact for New Zealand India is a priority country in its “Opening Doors to India” policy notified in October 2011. The same was reiterated in 2015.

When in March this year  New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters visited India, he said the ties between the two are entering a new phase. Though he was more focused on the security concerns shared by the two countries, the economic ties have been strengthening.

The Indian government said it is committed to strengthening its long-standing economic ties and bilateral trade with New Zealand, and both sides have decided to have deeper collaboration in the pharma, agricultural, and processed food sectors, among others.

Indian Commerce Secretary, Sunil Barthwal, recently reiterated this when a delegation led by him held a number of 'constructive and outcome-oriented' meetings in New Zealand to work on ways to deepen the existing bilateral relations between the two nations.

These meetings were held during April 26-27 with the Minister for Trade of New Zealand Todd McClay, Acting Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, Brook Barrington, the India-New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) and the 11th India - New Zealand Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting.

According to New Delhi, both countries acknowledged the existing huge potential in both economies and mutual trade complementarities, and said that there is a substantial potential to increase the trade and people to people contacts.

These meetings reportedly had focused discussions on several key areas aimed at promoting bilateral trade and cooperation, marking a pivotal moment in strengthening economic ties and fostering collaboration between the two nations, building upon the existing close ties through people to people and business contacts.

India and New Zealand have a long-standing and warm relationship as well as historically shared close and cordial ties.

According to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the country's relationship with India is a priority for New Zealand and its importance to New Zealand is growing.

The Ministry said that India’s strong economy, large population and international influence make it a key partner in the Indo-Pacific region, and it also represents enormous potential for the exporters of New Zealand.

New Zealand is committed to investing in the bilateral relationship with India, and the country is aiming to do more across a number of areas including political engagement, trade, education, tourism, cultural and sports diplomacy, according to the NZ Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry.

According to the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, both India and New Zealand have an interest in the prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific region, and actively participate in the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum, and India is a Post Forum Dialogue partner in the Pacific Islands Forum.

  According to the Indian High Commission in New Zealand's Wellington, India is New Zealand’s 11th largest two-way trading partner with total two-way trade valued at US$1.80 bn during the year ending September 2020.

The High Commission added that both nations are committed to work towards a high-quality, comprehensive and balanced bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTA), which has been negotiated since 2010.

India New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) and New Zealand India Trade Alliance (NZITA) are the two prominent organizations working to promote trade and investment relations between the two countries, according to reports.

India has long been an important trading partner of New Zealand.

The South Asian nation, which is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world, is among New Zealand’s top 15 trading partners, with two-way trade in goods and services worth nearly NZ$2.2 billion, according to New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

As per data shared by the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, exports to India are worth NZ$1.1 billion -- NZ$467 million in goods and NZ$633 million in services -- with imports worth NZ$1 billion -- NZ$878 million in goods and NZ$202 million in services.

New Zealand's key exports to India include logs and wood products, fruit and nuts, and education services, according to reports.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters earlier said, as reported in Waikato Times, there would be efforts aimed at “sharpening up” the criteria for New Zealand accepting Indian students, as well as air connectivity ‒ a direct flight between the two countries is hoped to come about in the coming years ‒ and collaboration on agri-tech.

The National-coalition Government in New Zealand, the report said, believes their ties with India drifted under a Labour Government during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it has promised to renew efforts to improve trade ties ‒ including pursuing a free trade agreement (FTA), despite a highly-protectionist agricultural economy.

India and New Zealand are indeed in a new phase of bilateral ties led by PM Narendra Modi and the present New Zealand government led by National Party leader Christopher Mark Luxon.

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