Another challenge for Damien O’Connor: NZ has fallen behind Aussies and the Brits in striking free trade deals with India

As  India  fulfils  its  long-held   dream of  becoming  an  economic  super-power, New Zealand  is  again  being  left  on  the  sidelines.  First Australia  and  now  the  UK  have  beaten  it  to the punch  in  securing  free  trade  deals with India, a country  in Asia with  which  New Zealanders  have  always   felt  an  affinity — and  not  just  in  cricket

As The Economist  reported   earlier  this  month,  a  vast national  market  is  being created there and  empires  are  being built  on  new  technologies.

India  is  forecast  to be  the  world’s  fastest -growing  economy in 2022. For  India  to grow at 7%  or 8% for  years  to  come  would be  “momentous”.

The Economist  cited  four  pillars that  will  support  growth in the  next  decade:  the  forging  of  a  single  national  market, an expansion  of  industry  owing to  the   renewable  energy  shift and  a  move  in  supply  chains away  from China, continued  pre-eminence  in  IT, and  a  high-tech  safety net for  the  hundreds  of  millions  left  behind  by  all  this.

“The  combination of of  engineering  skills, mobile  data  and a  national stack has  created a  lot of  startups. They have  gone  from providing e-commerce, delivery and ride-sharing  services for the 10m-20m richest  Indians to  seeking  opportunities  further  down the  economic pyramid. 

“And  Bangalore’s  low-tech culture  is  fostering  a  new  generation  of firms  that are  closer to  the  global  frontier,  for  example, in space, drones  and  batteries.  A  local  venture  capitalist  reckons  there is a  pipeline  of  10,000  plausible startup created  each  year.”

This  gives  an  insight  into  what  NZ  is  missing  out  on.

National’s  trade  and export growth  spokesman, Todd McClay,  says the Labour Government has left Kiwi exporters further disadvantaged as the United Kingdom and India are set to announce a trade agreement.

“A Free Trade Agreement like this is a slap in the face to Kiwi exporters, who continue to operate with one hand tied behind their back in the Indian market.

“This comes just two months after Australia signed their Free Trade Agreement with India, allowing tariff-free exports of lamb and baby formula, with significant reductions on other products. Kiwi wine exporters continue to face a 150 per cent tariff on exports to India, while the Aussies will now pay a fraction of this.

“Trade Minister Damien O’Connor said previously that an FTA with India was ‘not a realistic short-term prospect’ because they were focusing on the UK. Clearly, the UK has learnt how to do two things at once because while we were only talking to them, they were negotiating a high-quality deal with India at the same time.”

McClay said the deal between the UK and India means our exporters – our exports to India totalled almost $500, million last year – will now be undercut by the UK and Australia trade deals.

“The Government is making it harder for Kiwi businesses to sell around the world,” he contended.

“Damien O’Connor needs to stop making excuses, get on a plane to India, and secure a deal for Kiwis.”

Point  of  Order  suspects  O’Connor  is  having  more  fun  alongside  the  PM  on  her  jaunt  to  the  US.   Anyway, there’s  work to be done in trying to persuade the Americans to join  the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Agreement

The CPTPP is a trade agreement among New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The 11 signatories have combined economies representing 13.4% of global gross domestic product (approximately US$13.5 trillion), making it one of the world’s largest free-trade areas.

It evolved from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which had been signed early in 2016 but never entered into force because the US withdrew soon after the election of president Donald Trump.

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