Sunil Kaushal –
New Zealand has a longstanding and friendly relationship with India, including language (English), democracy (People’s Representation) and sports (Cricket).
Our government’s decision to appoint a High Commissioner to New Delhi in 1960 strengthened our relationship with India.
While there has been consistent increase in the amount of trade (rising from $366 million in 2010 to over $1.1 billion by end of June, 2013) there are increasing opportunities for New Zealand and its businesses in India.
‘The New Zealand Inc India’ launched by our government in 2011 aimed to grow trade between the two countries to $2 billion by 2015 and increase services trade between New Zealand and India by 20%.
These are again positive and pragmatic steps from our leaders to tap in to the world’s fastest growing consumer goods market and one with the large demographic dividend.
There have been consistent calls for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India so that exporters and importers can utilise reduction in tariff duties towards increasing trade and commerce.
While the barriers to the FTA are ironed out the need to proactively seize the opportunity presented has never been greater for New Zealand’s businesses. India began its economic liberalisation story in the early 1990s and since then has taken a proactive approach towards modernising its economy, improving standards of living for its citizens and reducing poverty.
The new federal government, since taking office in May 2014, has been focusing on making lost ground of the past couple of years.
Initiatives such as the ‘Make in India Programme,’ ‘Smart Cities Project’ and ‘Clean India Project’ portray that India wants to capitalise on its strong base formed after the economic liberalisation of 1990s.
New initiatives such as the ones mentioned are aimed at inviting companies from across the globe towards partnering in India’s progression.
Kiwi companies with the technical knowhow and skills have already made their mark in various sectors. One such organisation, based in Christchurch, has contributed towards creation of retail kiosks at a number of newly built airports. Many more organisations should take advantage of opportunities in India.
Reasons for engagement
Statistics provide evidence and reasons to engage with India.
The Indian economy has been one of the major drivers of world economic activity. India’s GDP per capita in PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) terms is today higher compared to 2000. GDP growth for the fiscal year stands at 7.5%.
New Zealand’s exports to India have risen by 11% year-on-year to October 15.
Similarly, our imports from India have also risen to 21% in the 12 months ending in October 2015.
These figures provide us evidence that India is open for business and is inviting New Zealand to participate in its growth story.
The country’s political stability, immense human capital that propels its software and services sector provide further incentives for Kiwi companies to engage with and expand in India.
We need to increase the breadth and intensity of our interaction with India across the board. This involves both government and non-government sectors.
India Trade Alliance (ITA), an organisation set up with professionals with years of experience in various fields, will be able to assist Kiwi organisations bridge this gap. In the months and years to come, the Organisation and its members look forward to playing an active role in helping Kiwi companies leverage on India’s programmes such as ‘Smart Cities Project’ and ‘Make in India.’
New Zealand’s innovative ICT industry is already on the list of many Indian businesses. The rise of the rapidly increasing middle class, anticipated to be over 300 million and their taste for New Zealand wine, meat or produce provide New Zealand businesses an opportunity to diversify their risks in India.
Sunil Kaushal is a Company Director with interests in Business, Commerce and International Trade particularly focusing on India. He was Head of India Relations at ANZ Bank and Chair of India New Zealand Business Council, both based in Auckland. He is now General Secretary of India Trade Alliance.