Thursday, 25 January 2024 09:55

Growing trade with India

Written by  Todd McClay
Trade Minister Todd McClay visited India last month, his first official engagement overseas since taking office. Trade Minister Todd McClay visited India last month, his first official engagement overseas since taking office.

Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay made a whirlwind trip to India last month, his first overseas visit in the new role. He spoke to Indian business leaders in New Delhi. Here's part of what he said:

The New Zealand Government was sworn into office a few short weeks ago and it's no coincidence that I have chosen to visit Delhi as my first international engagement.

You should read it as intended; a signal of the strategic priority that the New Zealand Government attaches to the relationship with India.

New Zealand and India established diplomatic ties over 70 years ago, a time when the global economy was recovering from the ravages of two world wars - wars in which both our nations sacrificed so much.

Legend has it that in WWI New Zealand rations were so terrible in Gallipoli that our men frequently relied on the kindness of their Indian comrades sharing their chapatis - the origins of New Zealand-India trade perhaps?

I am here today - on my first international visit - to listen and discuss the path forward. It is essential that we are aligned in our strategy to develop a strong relationship that results in future growth and prosperity for both our countries.

New Zealand's new Government meets an increasingly challenging external environment: an international system under threat; global food security under pressure; conflicts and tensions creating disunity and an erosion of the rules we rely on; and increasingly dramatic climatic events.

These global challenges are worrying and in our region they are acute. In this environment, responsible nations that understand each other must draw closer together to safeguard our security and prosperity.

Strengthening global connections through trade and economic cooperation is my focus. I believe nations are at their best when they are leveraging their economic and commercial strengths to shared benefit.

I believe in the stabilising effect of trade and economic integration.

From New Zealand you should expect to see an increased tempo of engagement across all areas of our relationship and at all levels of government.

I will be listening closely and taking back what I've heard from this visit to my cabinet colleagues and to New Zealand businesses, which share the Government's priority for a comprehensive, broad-based relationship with India.

In 2021, two Indian brothers who moved to New Zealand a little over ten years ago won the prestigious New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year title. An extraordinary achievement for first generation New Zealanders. These brothers are now exploring ways to share the knowledge they have learned in New Zealand back in their home state of Uttarakhand by running large scale farms.

New Zealand is open for business. We may not be big, but our products and services are world class.

We have expertise, experience, technology and a practical edge that has real impact when paired with India's dynamic and educated population and its expanding economy.

I believe that in joining forces our respective creativity and innovation can really deliver value.

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