Minister emphasises stronger relations with India

Michael Henstock

Wellington, June 30, 2018

Fulfilling potential relationships and leveraging opportunities between New Zealand and Indian markets was the key theme of the recent ‘Reimagining India New Zealand Relationship’ nationwide series of talks.

In Wellington on Wednesday, June 26, 2018, Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker addressed an audience of business people, exporters, senior economic advisors, academia, and senior representatives from Foreign Affairs (MFAT), Trade Ministry, Prime Industries Ministry (MPI) and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE).

The event, titled ‘Building Strong Economic Relations,’ was hosted by the New Zealand India Trade Alliance in partnership with Grant Thornton and supported by NZTE.

Enhancing bilateral relations

Mr Parker said that last year’s meeting between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the East Asia Summit, further enhanced the already existing warm relations between the two countries.

The Minister highlighted the rise of India as a consumer market, and its willingness to reach out to the world; “Strong relationships with India matter for New Zealand’s security and prosperity. India is the World’s largest democracy. It will be the fifth largest economy by 2020 and the most populous country by 2025.”

Immense potential

The Minister acknowledged that the potential to develop an even stronger trade relationship between the two countries is huge.

“We want to strengthen our economic and trade architecture with India, including through the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement.

“At present the best prospect for securing trade liberalization into India remains the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the RCEP negotiations. Negotiations for a bi-lateral FTA are a potential parallel track, but progress depends upon what India is prepared to bring to the table, particularly on goods,” Mr Parker said.

Liberal Trade

He said that liberal trade rules are critical for both countries, and while there is some growth in trade between the two countries there was, “Unfulfilled potential in the economic relationship, particularly in the bi-lateral goods trade. New Zealand wants India to open up its protected goods market, to remove barriers which impede New Zealand service exporters, and to improve conditions for NZ businesses to invest in India.”

Mr Parker stressed that a lack of a Free Trade Agreement need not be a barrier for New Zealand companies, with over 100 New Zealand companies now working in India.

He said that New Zealand must leverage every opportunity that is present, and commended agencies like NZTE, MFAT and NZITA on the role they play in enhancing the relationship.

Zespri growth

The meeting was also addressed by Rachel Lynch, Head of Government Relations, Zespri, who spoke about the Zespri’s growth journey in India.

She described the growing demand from Indian consumers to eat healthy food, and how Zespri is meeting that demand with its commitment to in market education, demonstrating how kiwifruit provide a balanced approach to diet.

Quality New Zealand Chief Executive and Director Geoff Allott talked about why the company is increasingly successful in India.

“The rise of the Indian middle class and their taste for good quality protein rich products has made India an ideal market.”

He pointed out the continued efforts towards “ease of doing business” by the Modi government, which is gradually but positively affecting the market environment in India.

Among the special guests at the event were former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand, Indian High Commission AND Head of Chancery at Indian High Commission Sandeep Sood.

NZITA is an invitation-only organisation working with stakeholders to establish, build and promote trade, investment, sporting and cultural links between New Zealand and India. It has administrative centres in the Indian cities of Mumbai, New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Auckland in New Zealand.

Michael Henstock is a Member of the Executive Committee of the New Zealand India Trade Alliance and its Spokesperson.

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Photo Caption:

  1. Trade & Export Growth Minister David Parker speaking
  2. NZITA Chairman Giri Gupta (Centre, front) with Michael Henstock, Pawan Arora, Dr Richard Worth, Dr Don Brash, Stephen Brown, Sandeep Sood, Sunil Kaushal and Surinder Ogra
  3. Sir Anand Satyanand (second from left) with Giri Gupta, Sunit Prakash, Dr Richard Worth, Maria Gray and Dr Revti Raman

(Pictures Supplied)

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