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The India New Zealand Business Council’s discussion document ‘India & New Zealand, A Relationship Ready for its Next Phase presents an assessment of the current state of India-New Zealand trade relations, and what both business communities have identified as key steps in progressing the relationship.  

The India New Zealand Business Council 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 India’s trade policy. However, 15 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. 

The Council says 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 Kiwis, fully five percent of the population, claim Indian heritage. Many more come to study, visit, and work. They make huge contributions to the well-being of New Zealand 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, it is 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 – it cannot afford to be left behind.


To download a free copy of the report, go to: 

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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