- INZBC Secretariat
India & New Zealand: A Relationship Ready For Its Next Phase
The India New Zealand Business Council today releases a discussion document titled: India & New Zealand, A Relationship Ready For Its Next Phase, submitted to the government.
This report presents an assessment of the current state of India-New Zealand trade relations, and what the New Zealand-India business community has identified as key steps in progressing the trade relationship.
The India New Zealand Business Council has engaged with its membership and parties interested in lifting the relationship between India and New Zealand. There is a clear consensus that a stronger relationship with India is vital to New Zealand’s economic future.
India will soon become the world’s third-largest economy and is unlikely to halt there. India is already home to the world’s largest national population, including a deep pool of educated, skilled and highly mobile, English-fluent youth. No economy of a comparable scale is growing as rapidly as India’s; none has a greater potential over the medium and long term to scale their industries, reshape consumer trends and alter the geopolitical balance.
Securing access to a diverse set of trading partners and markets has long been a central preoccupation of our country’s trade policy and must remain so. However, fifteen years of trying to negotiate a conventional trade agreement, first bilaterally and then through the RCEP, has not delivered much.
In the context of modern India, a different approach is required. The message is that progress in trade liberalisation will involve understanding and acting on what New Zealand can do for India, just as clearly as what India can do for New Zealand.
We can learn from our Australian cousins; a formalised trade agreement is the outcome of a strong bilateral relationship, not the beginning of it.
Furthermore, a quarter of a million New Zealanders - fully 5% of our population - claim Indian heritage. Many more come to study, visit, and work. They make huge contributions to the well-being of our country and are well-placed to do more for its relationship with India.
India must be a diplomatic priority for New Zealand. It is very encouraging to see the recent step-up in diplomatic activity that both governments are making to engage and find fresh approaches. The momentum gained must be sustained. Dialogue and trust will lead to trade and investment.
New Zealand has some catching up to do – as a country with a lot to offer India, we are at risk of being further marginalised as the centre of economic and geopolitical gravity shifts towards India over the next generation. New Zealand must get serious about India and invest in this relationship now – we cannot afford to be left behind.
Our report, and the recommendations in it, are aimed at leaders in government, business, academia, and the cultural and sporting sectors, with the objective of creating greater coherency and urgency in our approach to India. All of us have a role to play.
To download a free copy of our report, please visit our website: www.inzbc.org
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