Easing tariff barriers key to Indo-NZ trade
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and New Zealand, discussions for which commenced in January 2010, has a long way to go, given that the two countries are yet to thrash out tariff-related issues to double bilateral merchandise trade to NZ$2 billion by 2015.
The Consul General & Trade Commissioner of New Zealand, Gavin Young, on the sidelines of an event, told Deccan Herald, “Traditionally, India has been very restrictive on what food items it allows and the tariffs thereon; we would like to see some of these restrictions eased. India too, wants some tariff reduction on some products.”
While declining to commit to a deadline for the FTA, he was optimistic that bilateral trade, especially of merchandise items, would go up once the FTA is finalised. “We did an FTA with China in 2008 and the two-way trade growth has been phenomenal. From third position, China is now our second-largest trading partner.” India ranks 17th among bilateral trading partners for New Zealand.
Among many items, New Zealand has been keen on reduction in import duty on apples, currently at about 50 per cent. The Chief Executive of Pipfruit, New Zealand’s apples and pears promotion body, Alan Pollard, said, “It is a matter of discussion. Certainly we want to see reduction in import duty on apples.”
He added that New Zealand exported 1 million cartons of apples in 2012, up from 6,50,000 cartons in 2011. For the year ended June 2011, apples constituted 2.6 per cent of New Zealand’s exports to India, at NZ$24.3 million.
The bulk of apples imported into India comes from the US and China, about 80 per cent, while New Zealand, Australia and other countries account for the rest.
Import of fruits have been on the rise in India; from $370 million in 2010-11 - with apples, pears and quinces accounting for almost half of it – to $464 million in 2011-12, according to Union Ministry of Commerce data.
DH News Service