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New Zealand trade ministry allays India’s dairy import fears

Date: 28-02-2020
Subject: New Zealand trade ministry allays India’s dairy import fears
New Delhi: New Zealand has said there is no prospect of New Zealand flooding the Indian market with or without a trade agreement, seeking to allay New Delhi’s fears on dairy imports. The country's minister for trade and export growth David Parker said New Zealand is keen to address India’s concerns on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement and its preference is to proceed with the pact with India in the trade grouping.

“There is no prospect of New Zealand flooding the Indian market with or without an FTA,” Parker told ET.

New Zealand is a member of RCEP and was pushing for opening up of India’s dairy sector, triggering fears of dumping of dairy products from milk-surplus countries Australia and New Zealand. Opening up of the dairy sector was one of the key concern areas for India in the RCEP talks.

On the issue of restarting the talks for a bilateral trade pact, he said: “The bilateral free trade agreement was put on a back burner ever since we been negotiating RCEP”.

However, New Zealand said it will look forward to a bilateral trade agreement with India in case New Delhi does not join the regional trade pact. “Having said that, if that doesn't work… then of course, New Zealand and India will be looking to reinvigorate the bilateral negotiation,” he said.

In November last year, India opted out of the RCEP after negotiating the pact with 15 other Asia Pacific countries for seven years due to lack of reciprocity on its key demands on services market access, safeguards for import surge and circumvention of origin rules because of tariff differentials.

India’s merchandise exports to New Zealand in the nine months to December 2019 were $287.8 billion while imports were $419.06 billion. India’s major exports to the country are pharmaceutical products and textile madeups while imports are wood and its articles, wood charcoal, mineral fuels and fruits.

“I met with your minister of commerce (Piyush Goyal) yesterday and we discussed those issues. Of course, New Zealand and India have been busy for some years negotiating through the rubric of RCEP and we will know by the end of the year as to whether India chooses to stay out or participate in RCEP,” he said at a Ficci event.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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