India and RCEP

India is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) presents significant opportunities for New Zealand’s trade with India.

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India is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world. India was involved in the RCEP negotiations from 2012 until it withdrew in November 2019. A fast track accession process is available for India should it wish to re-join RCEP in future.

India at a glance

India’s rapid population and economic growth make the country an attractive market for New Zealand exports:

  • India’s US $2.8 trillion economy is the third fastest growing major economy in the world, increasing at a rate of 4 percent (after China at 6 percent and Indonesia at 5 percent).
  • Powered by a rapidly expanding middle class, the domestic market and the rise of consumerism drives Indian economic growth.
  • Per capita income in India (by purchasing power) is currently at a similar level to China’s when the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2008.
  • India has the world’s second largest population after China at 1.37 billion. India’s working age population consists of over 900 million 15-65 year olds.
  • India’s population will likely surpass China’s (1.43 billion) in 2027, making it the world’s most populous country.

Our current trade relationship with India*

New Zealand does not currently have an FTA with India. However, India has long been an important trading partner:

  • India is New Zealand’s 11th largest trading partner, with total trade in goods and services worth more than NZ$2.7 billion.
  • Exports to India are worth NZ$1.7 billion (NZ$699 million in goods, NZ$946 million in services) with imports worth NZ$1 billion (NZ$756 million in goods, NZ$265 million in services). 
  • Our key exports to India include; logs and wood products, travel services, fruit and education services.
  • In 2018, more than 16,000 Indian students were studying in New Zealand, and 66,000 Indian tourists visited that year.

* Figures are as at December 2019.

India’s connection with RCEP

India participated in the RCEP negotiations until November 2019, when it decided to withdraw. The RCEP text includes a fast-track accession process for India should it wish to re-join in the future, in recognition of India’s status as an original negotiating participant.

At the time of RCEP’s signature, RCEP Ministers also issued a Declaration regarding India’s participation in RCEP, which provides a pathway for India to participate in RCEP meetings and economic cooperation activities pending its accession.

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