Story image

Don't wait for FTA before acting on India, says India-NZ business council chair

05 Mar 15

New Zealand companies looking to do business in India should move beyond a mutual love of cricket and not wait for a free-trade agreement before seeking opportunities in the fast-growing Indian economy, says Sunil Kaushal, chairman of the India-New Zealand Business Council.

"While much of the focus is on the prospect for a free trade agreement with India, waiting for its conclusion before acting risks missing the boat," Kaushal said in a statement ahead of the council's second India-New Zealand Investment Summit in Auckland on March 13.

The one-day summit will see a 40-strong delegation of senior Indian business people in Auckland for the event, including Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of software giant Infosys, Reuben Abraham, chief executive of the influential IFDC Institute think-tank, and Jaya Kumar, chief executive of animated films firm Toonz, which is establishing operations in New Zealand.

The two countries were "natural allies", said Abraham in a statement on the summit, which has sold out and will be addressed by a range of government ministers, including Prime Minister John Key. The two countries had common interests that "start with cricket and a shared language, but ought to be much more substantive."

While negotiations for a bilateral FTA with India began in 2011, they stalled under the previous Indian government and were revived only last November during a trade mission to lndia led by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, with the 10th round of negotiations between trade officials concluding last week.

Two-way trade between the two countries is relatively small, at around $1.1 billion, making India New Zealand's 15th largest trading partner, despite having a population almost as large as that of China, which is New Zealand's largest trading partner at over $20 billion, following explosive growth in two-way trade since the signing of an FTA in 2008.

However, India's democratic and protectionist traditions, along with a large domestic dairy sector, make it a more difficult prospect for FTA negotiations.

Kaushal warns too that New Zealand firms wanting to do business in India should not be over-reliant on a mutual love of cricket to open doors to commercial opportunities.

"While the Cricket World Cup is the reason we are holding the summit now, one of the themes for this meeting is the urgent opportunity for New Zealand and India to move to a much deeper bilateral trade and investment relationship."

(BusinessDesk is media partner for the 2015 India-New Zealand Business Summit.)

How blockchain will impact NZ’s economy
Distributed ledgers and blockchain are anticipated to provide a positive uplift to New Zealand’s economy.
25% of malicious emails still make it through to recipients
Popular email security programmes may fail to detect as much as 25% of all emails with malicious or dangerous attachments, a study from Mimecast says.
Human value must be put back in marketing - report
“Digital is now so widely adopted that its novelty has worn off. In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives."
Wine firm uses AR to tell its story right on the bottle
A Central Otago wine company is using augmented reality (AR) and a ‘digital first’ strategy to change the way it builds its brand and engages with customers.
DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."