New Zealand said on Thursday stated its willingness to continue its trading relations with India 'though different means' if India does not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Earlier in November 2019, New Delhi had decided against joining the RCEP but, the decision may change if India's key concerns about signing the trade pact are addressed.
While interacting with a news agency on the sidelines of India-New Zealand Business Forum', organized by FICCI, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said, "Yesterday, I met with Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and discussed the issue (the RCEP). We know that India chose to stay out of RCEP, but if they continue to not participate in the pact (in the future), then we will want to pursue our trading relationship through different means."
Talking about enhancing complementary socio-economic relations, Parker said, "We see enormous potential for trade between the 2 countries. Given the size of our respective economies, our level of trade is quite low and we can do a lot for our mutual advantage."
While addressing the business gathering at the National Capital, the New Zealand Minister spoke briefly about how New Zealand is constantly engaging with multiple Indian states to provide them with the latest technology in agriculture, food storage, and supply chain infrastructure. Adding further, he even spoke about how New Zealand companies have started working with Indian businesses under the Make in India program.
The Minister also emphasized the need to adopt the latest technologies to encourage innovations, that will bridge the gap between the two nations.
"Trade policies play an important role. There is a lot that we can do together, and we are a progressive nation," he informed.
Encouragfing greater participation from women entrepreneurs to contibute towards the national GDP, Parker said that New Zealand is working to increase the number of women entrepreneurs in the overall trade. "According to the IMF, greater female participation boosts growth by up to 35 percent of the GDP," he said adding that there are equal opportunities for women in India which will also contribute significantly to India's GDP growth.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its six FTA partners, launched in 2012. The member nations include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the FTA members include China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The agreement aims at dropping tariffs and duties between the members to allow a free flow of goods and services.
(With ANI inputs)