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Strategic partnership promotes India trade

India and New Zealand have a longstanding and warm relationship. India is a priority relationship for New Zealand and our most developed relationship in South Asia.

India’s importance to New Zealand is growing. This reflects India’s expanding economy which has emerged strongly from the global recession, its growing geopolitical importance, and its increased openness to the rest of the world.

The New Zealand Government is implementing an inter-agency ‘NZ Inc India Strategy’ that is working towards India being a core trade, economic and political partner for New Zealand by 2015.

The Strategy

The NZ Inc India Strategy is the first of a series of all-of-government strategies aimed to set priorities and coordinate relations with key offshore partners. The Strategy articulates a clear vision that India should be a core trade, economic and political partner for New Zealand by 2015. The Strategy has six broad goals.

They are (1) Grow merchandise exports to at least $2 billion per year by 2015 (2) Grow services trade with India by an average of 20% per year (3) Improve the bilateral investment framework and facilitate growth in the investment relationship (4) Attract and retain skilled migrants from India who are able to make an effective contribution to New Zealand’s economic base (5) Engage more deeply with India on regional and global issues that will impact on New Zealand’s future prosperity and security and (6) Raise the profile of New Zealand’s value proposition in India through a series of conscious steps, from enhanced cricket diplomacy to increased political contact with India.

Prime Minister John Key launched the Strategy on October 20, 2011 in Auckland.

Growing relationship

India is an increasingly important trading partner for New Zealand. Trade with India has nearly doubled over the past five years, growing from $620 million in 2007 to $1.1 billion in 2012.

New Zealand’s main exports to India are primary commodities. Although exports have significantly grown over the past five years, high tariffs on items of interest to New Zealand, particularly agricultural and value-added products, continue to restrict our exports. However, in recent years India’s average applied tariff rate has reduced in line with its tariff policy and WTO commitments.

There has been steady growth in our services trade with India, notably in tourism and education. India is our second largest market for international students. Opportunities for growth in other services sectors include professional and business services, environmental services, engineering and construction services, and services incidental to agriculture and forestry.

Education

There were 11,349 international fee-paying students from India in New Zealand in 2012, up from 6348 in 2008. The New Zealand and Indian Governments have formed the India-New Zealand Education Council to coordinate educational links between the two countries. The Council focuses on areas such as academic and student exchanges, joint research activities and industry collaborations.

The New Zealand India Research Institute is a consortium of scholars actively engaged in research on India in New Zealand universities.

Tourism and Air Links

In 2012, about 30,000 people from India visited New Zealand, contributing an estimated $ 90 million to the New Zealand economy. Indian tourists tend to visit outside of New Zealand’s peak tourist season.

There are no direct air links between India and New Zealand. A majority of travellers transit through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong or Dubai. A bilateral Air Services Agreement was signed in 2006 (and updated in 2008), providing for direct aircraft services to take place between Mumbai and Auckland.

Political and cultural links

India and New Zealand’s historical ties stretch back to when Indian migration to New Zealand began in the 1890s. Most of these early migrants came from Punjab and Gujarat, but today New Zealand is home to people with origins from all over India. Today, well over 100,000 people of Indian descent call New Zealand home.

New Zealand and India share much in common. Our troops fought alongside each other during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, which is an important part of New Zealand’s cultural identity. In addition, we share a Commonwealth heritage, legal system, business, language, democratic traditions, and personal links.

We also have shared heroes: Mahatma Gandhi is an admired figure in New Zealand; and Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s legacy as Everest pioneers is also well known in India. And of course, we have a shared love of hockey, mountaineering, and cricket!

Regional and multilateral links

New Zealand and India are active members of the Asia-Pacific region. We have a common stake in the prosperity and stability of our region and work closely together in settings such as the East Asia Summit (EAS) and Asian Regional Forum (ARF) to advance our mutual interests. India’s interest extends to the Pacific Island states and in 2003 it became a dialogue partner of the Pacific Islands Forum.

New Zealand and India also work constructively together as members of the United Nations (UN) and the Commonwealth. We are also members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank.

Our common membership of regional and multilateral forums provides a platform for regular dialogue on key issues such as the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, international trade, United Nations reform, human rights, counter-terrorism and other transnational issues.

The above was an extract from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, New Zealand.

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