First Round Table Joint meeting between India, New Zealand held in Delhi

9 June, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

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On Thursday in New Delhi, India and New Zealand had their first Round Table Joint Meeting with industry bodies from both countries.

On Thursday in New Delhi, India and New Zealand had their first Round Table Joint Meeting with industry bodies from both countries.

The meeting was co-chaired by Rajesh Agarwal, additional secretary, Department of Commerce, Government of India, and David Pine, High Commissioner of New Zealand in India, according to an official announcement from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Based on the present level of bilateral trade between the two countries, both parties realised the immense potential of the India-New Zealand alliance and the need for more economic cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

It was widely agreed that there is a need to go beyond any free trade agreement and investigate additional areas where both may complement each other. The discussions also focused on advancing the goals of the Joint Trade Committee (JTC), which was established under the Bilateral Trade Agreement of 1986, according to the official release.

The New Zealand High Commissioner emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts while keeping in mind the principles of mutual benefit, proportionality, facilitating trade, and partnership with private sectors in a brief statement.

Some of the areas he investigated included the promotion of a Unified Payment Interface (UPI) system, carbon credit cooperation, economic cooperation through sectoral arrangements, and collaboration on specific issues such as Zespri’s comprehensive proposal and prioritisation of requests on non-tariff measures for bilateral gains to both sides’ businesses.

The High Commissioner also informed that India New Zealand Business Council has brought out a report in April 2023 on “India New Zealand -Relationship ready for next phase”, reflecting feasible areas of cooperative activities for economic prosperity. He also emphasized increasing the air connectivity links between the two countries.

According to the official statement, Rajesh Agarwal mentioned strengthening the existing institutional mechanism for improving bilateral trade and emphasized on creation of a structure for working on cooperation and collaboration issues. This could include establishing a working group at the Joint Secretary level to work on specific identified issues and once the ideas and the corresponding co-operative activities are concretized, the same can be scaled up and finalized during the Joint Trade Committee meeting.

He stated that it would require a concerted effort from both sides and should take into account deliberations at G2G, B2B and G2B interactions.

Rajesh Agarwal emphasised the importance of developing a proactive operational framework for mutual benefit by forming working groups that would provide specific ideas and solutions to the Joint Trade Committee.

The Indian industry representatives from services sectors such as IT and ITeS, logistics and banking, as well as manufacturing sectors such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, automobile, construction, and power, made useful interventions on bilateral issues and the huge potential and ample opportunities available between both economies, according to the official press release.