On June 8, India and New Zealand decided to further their collaboration in certain areas, including UPI system facilitation, prompt trade issue resolution, work visa, and strengthening banking relations. When looking at the current volume of bilateral trade between the two nations, both sides saw the enormous potential and the necessity of creating synergy for improved economic cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
During the first Round Table Joint Meeting in Delhi between India and New Zealand, industry organisations from both nations discussed the possibility of cooperation in various areas. The discussions also centred on advancing the Joint Trade Committee’s (JTC) objectives, which were established per the Bilateral Trade Agreement 1986.
According to the official release from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the meeting was co-chaired by the Additional Secretary of the Department of Commerce, Rajesh Agarwal and the High Commissioner of New Zealand in India, David Pine. The release states, “It was a common understanding that there is a need to work beyond any free trade agreement and explore other areas where both can complement each other.”
In his brief remark, the New Zealand High Commissioner emphasised the collective efforts while considering the principles of mutual benefits, proportionality, enabling trade and cooperation with private sectors. As per the Commerce Ministry, some of the areas he explored included the “promotion of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system, carbon credit cooperation, economic cooperation through sectoral arrangements and working together on specific issues like the comprehensive proposal made by Zespri and prioritisation of requests on non-tariff measures for bilateral gains to the businesses of both the sides.”
The High Commissioner also mentioned that the India-New Zealand Business Council published a report titled “India New Zealand – Relationship ready for next phase” in April, highlighting conceivable areas for economic growth. Additionally, he underlined the importance of improving air connectivity links between the two nations.
Rajesh Agarwal talked about bolstering the current institutional framework for enhancing bilateral trade and placed emphasis on developing a framework for addressing issues of collaboration and cooperation, “This could include establishing a working group at Joint Secretary level to work on specifically identified issues, and once the ideas and the corresponding co-operative activities are concretised, the same can be scaled up and finalised during the Joint Trade Committee meeting.” He added that it would involve a coordinated effort from both nations and should consider decisions made at G2G, B2B, and G2B interactions.
The Additional Secretary praised the constructive nature of the discussion that led to “Tentative identification of various areas of cooperation including the facilitation of UPI system, carbon credit, package proposal on Kiwi fruits, trans-shipment hub, prioritisation of bilateral trade issues for their timely resolution, collaboration on technology issues, cooperation in services such as work visa related issues, improving the banking relations further, etc.”
He highlighted the necessity for a proactive operational structure for the mutual benefit of both countries by forming working groups that would provide the Joint Trade Committee with substantial ideas and solutions.
In the meeting, the industry representatives of India discussed the bilateral issues and the enormous potential and abundant opportunities between the two economies that need to be cultivated through such interactions and actions. As per the Commerce Ministry, the Indian industry representatives are “from services sectors like IT and ITeS, logistics and banking sector as well as manufacturing sectors namely food processing, pharmaceuticals, automobile, construction and power.”
While referring to it as an important turning point between the two countries’ economic relations, the industry organisations from New Zealand stressed the need to move quickly and keep the discussion organised like the present one.
India and New Zealand unanimously agreed on more government-to-industry dialogues for mutual benefits.