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    New Zealand upset over India’s silence on opening farm and dairy sector to imports

    Synopsis

    Proposed FTA b/w India & New Zealand has hit a speed breaker due to the Centre's silence on opening the country's dairy & farm goods sector to imports.

    ET Bureau
    NEW DELHI: The proposed free trade agreement between India and New Zealand has hit a speed breaker due to the Centre's silence on opening the country's dairy and farm goods sector to imports. The broad-based free trade agreement that proposes to cover goods, services and investment was supposed to be concluded by March.

    The agreement is important for India as it hopes to get more work visas for its professionals especially teachers, healthcare providers, technicians, IT experts, architects and hospitality providers.

    The commerce department has told a negotiating team from New Zealand that visited New Delhi recently that it was yet to get a nod from the ministries of agriculture and food and therefore was not in a position to make any offers in the agriculture and dairy sectors.

    "The New Zealand team was disappointed and nothing significant could happen at the meeting as its offers in areas important to New Delhi such as services is contingent upon what it gets in the farm and dairy sectors," a government official told ET.

    New Zealand was also not happy with the safeguard measures India has proposed to guard its agriculture sector that will allow the country to increase import duties several times if there is a surge in imports.

    The India-New Zealand free trade negotiation that began in 2009 have already missed March 2012 deadline set when New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visited India last year. The eighth round of negotiations that took place in New Delhi in end June was supposed to move the talks towards conclusion but got stuck on dairy products.

    "There is no way we could have made any offers in the dairy sector without taking in views of the agriculture and food ministries as it is a very sensitive sector," the official said.

    India has not yet given any significant concession in dairy to any of its other FTA partners including Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and the Asean.

    The dairy industry, however, is central to New Zealand's economy and it is not willing to seal its offer in services without commitments in the area.

    "We are absolutely aware of the sensitivities that you have in your agriculture sector. But there is scope to work around it," New Zealand trade minister Tim Groser had told ET earlier in an interview.

     
    New Zealand could export high-end dairy products and also share technology, he said.

    New Zealand, on its part, is willing to offer greater work opportunities to skilled workers. It has already started discussing reciprocal recognition of some professional degrees outside the FTA.

    The two sides are hoping to increase bilateral trade from a little over $1 billion at present to more than $3 billion by 2012.
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    3 Comments on this Story

    Sumit3052 days ago
    India had lots to gain in the FTA especially through dairy farming technologies.The only loser is India.They couldnt get the technology nor could they export their well healed educated immigrants to NZ.I am lucky as I immigrated to NZ in 2005 and am now a citizen and this is simply false that there is systematic discrimination against indian immigrants.None whatsover,You should go back to India instead of sitting put in Auckland.Kiwis are the friendliest among all countries to immigrate too and I am glad I am a part of this country.The problems with Indian immigrants who "DONT MAKE IT"complain that white people are racists.They dont look at their own shortcomings,their english language improvement,upgradation of their skill-sets e,t,c.Indians who dont assimilate or adjust always fail and complain!I am one who didnt,I struggled,worked my a*** off and am glad this country has accepted me.Jagga go back to India to the "juggar mentality friends of yours who will break the Indian laws and systems through bribes to get you well establised-You are not only a twit but being a lazy loser!.
    Indian think tank3054 days ago
    Systematic discrimination including violation of Human rights is the policies of all developed countries especially English speaking, US, Canada, UK, Australia and NewZealand. Indian Government must take care of their citizens and immigrants in these countries. I don't see any policies from External Affaires Ministry of India which directly give the legal aid and security to their citizens in these so called developed countries. If any one new about these kind of support please let me know. I am in urgent need of these services.
    Jaggga3054 days ago
    New Zealand is a very small economy, a country of just 4.5 million. India had nothing to gain from this FTA. Atleast Indian Govt should ask NZ Govt to stop systemic discrimination of Indian immigrants.
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