The need for exploring a “new consultative mechanism” to discuss trade between New Zealand and India was affirmed in order to boost bilateral trade. 

A digital conference India- New Zealand Enhancing Bilateral Economic and Trade Relationship hosted by India’s prominent trade body CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) in partnership with NZ based premium trade organisation INZBC (Indian New Zealand Business Council) was held today bringing experts from both sides to dwell upon enhancing the bilateral trade. 

The two keynote speakers at the digital conference were India’s High Commissioner to NZ Muktesh Pardeshi and New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India David Pine. 

Covergence on new and existing mechanism to expand talks on trade

Both the High Commissioners expressed satisfaction on the overall progress of the bilateral relationship and the close cooperation in the realm of mutual repatriation of passengers stranded in both countries, and most importantly in exploring new consultative mechanisms to discuss bilateral trade between the two countries. 

Mr Pardeshi urged both sides to reorient the basis of relationship from mere buyer-seller model to a comprehensive partnership that deals with deeper partnership in trade, investment and economic engagement focussing on technology collaboration joint ventures, innovation sector and other allied areas. 

Reiterating the sentiments, David Pine also concurred with the Indian envoy and suggested that there was a need to move on and explore other viable settings where free trade goals can be achieved between both the countries. 

Both the envoys pitched for mutual opportunities presented for both the countries in order to further enhance bilateral trade. 

Mr Pine reiterated New Zealand’s proposition as a deserving partner and enabler of India’s growth story by offering niche products, services, and technological support in meeting the growing demand of the Indian middle class. 

Later on speaking with the Indian Weekender over the phone Mr Pine said that he was looking forward to the "virtual business delegation" planned by CII whereby intending to take NZ business on a virtual tour of investing and trade opportunities with India. 

Mr Pine also sent his good wishes to recent travellers from India on Air India flight who were subsequently tested and found Covid positive. 

India's business urged to see opportunities in Australasia market

Notably, the Indian High Commissioner offered an innovative perspective to the Indian investors and businesses to see New Zealand as an entry point for the wider Australasia-Oceania market. 

Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Mr Pardeshi further clarified on the proposition saying that once Indian businesses and investors started looking at the Australasia region as one single market, which constitutes 16 countries and a population of 30 million, then it will become a game-changer in facilitating much elusive high volume two way trade. 

Several institutions and organisations had come together to partner in this digital conference including ANZ Bank, TCS, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), NZ Tech, Education NZ, and Asia NZ Foundation.  

Mitigating the impacts of Covid on trade do not finds mention 

However, one glaring omission was an absence of serious dwelling upon disruptions that Covid may incur on the bilateral trade between the two countries. 

Notably, many experts are of the opinion that Covid could impact on many facets of bilateral trade, including supply lines, tourism, and people movement. 

According to some reports emerging from Europe, the international mobility as the world has seen in recent years and much of recent economic growth that different regions of the world have seen might not return till 2022-2023, which can potentially impact sectors like international education - the fourth biggest export earner for NZ. 

Baring Asia New Zealand Foundation executive director Simon Draper who gave closing remarks and challenged all participants to dwell upon the possible impact of Covid and mitigating those future disruptions, there was not much serious conversation on the issue which is clearly the most important domestic and global challenge.