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. 

Ministers’ Declaration on India’s Participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – 11 November 2020.  [PDF, 281 KB]