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India and New Zealand Forge Deeper Trade Collaborations in Pharma, Agriculture and Food Processing Industries

A high-level Indian delegation visited New Zealand to strengthen bilateral economic ties and explore trade collaboration opportunities including the agricultural sector.

KJ Staff
India and New Zealand Forge Deeper Trade Collaborations in Pharma, Agriculture and Food Processing Industries
India and New Zealand Forge Deeper Trade Collaborations in Pharma, Agriculture and Food Processing Industries

A high-level delegation led by India's Commerce Secretary, Sunil Barthwal, engaged in productive discussions during a visit to New Zealand from April 26-27, 2024, aimed at deepening bilateral relations and enhancing trade cooperation between the two nations. The delegation engaged in comprehensive meetings with key stakeholders including the Minister for Trade of New Zealand, Todd McClay, and Acting Chief Executive of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brook Barrington. The agenda focused on leveraging the substantial potential and complementarities between the Indian and New Zealand economies to further improve trade and foster people-to-people contacts.

Focused Discussions on Key Sectors including Agriculture

Discussions zeroed in on critical areas such as market access issues, economic cooperation projects, and the initiation of new initiatives to promote bilateral trade. The parties deliberated on establishing a robust economic dialogue framework, proposing the formation of specialized working groups in sectors including Agriculture, Food Processing, Storage & Transportation, Forestry, Pharmaceuticals, and Horticulture (with a particular focus on improving quality and productivity in the Kiwi fruit sector, storage in pack houses, and transportation).

Market access barriers, non-tariff barriers (NTBs), and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures affecting agricultural products like grapes, okra, and mangoes were thoroughly discussed. The delegation emphasized the need for a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) in Organic products and streamlined homologation processes, aiming to resolve these issues through constructive dialogue and cooperation under the existing Joint Trade Committee (JTC) mechanism.

Special attention was given to expanding bilateral trade in the services sector, highlighting business-to-business and people-to-people contacts. The discussions identified areas for collaboration such as hospitality, adventure tourism, nursing, tele-medicine, education, and air connectivity, with a focus on addressing skill gaps through capacity building and improved ease of mobility.

The delegation explored avenues for cooperation in pharmaceuticals and medical devices, including fast-tracking regulatory processes and assessing manufacturing facility quality. Discussions centered on increasing medicine sourcing from India and enhancing cooperation in the medical device sector.

Opportunities for collaboration in digital trade, cross-border payment systems, and meeting Nationally Determined Contributions were briefly explored. Both sides also discussed cooperative engagement within platforms such as the G20, Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), and other plurilateral associations to address economic challenges and opportunities.

The parties reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and agreed on the importance of regular dialogues to resolve issues and pursue collaborative activities in existing and unexplored areas.

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