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 important and attractive market for New Zealand exporters:

  • India’s economy, estimated at US $3 trillion, is one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
  • Powered by a rapidly expanding and more highly-educated middle class, the domestic market, and the rise of consumerism, drives Indian economic growth.
  • India has the world’s second largest population at over 1.3 billion. It is expected to become the world’s most populous nation, surpassing China, within the next decade. India’s working age population consists of over 900 million people.

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 among New Zealand’s top 15 trading partners, with two-way trade in goods and services worth nearly NZ$2.2 billion.
  • Exports to India are worth NZ$1.1 billion (NZ$467 million in goods, NZ$633 million in services) with imports worth NZ$1 billion (NZ$878 million in goods, NZ$202 million in services). 
  • Our key exports to India include logs and wood products, fruit and nuts, and education services. Prior to COVID-19, this also included travel and education services (pre-COVID, India was New Zealand’s second largest source of international students and a significant tourism market).

* Figures are accurate for the year ending September 2021, and are accurate as at January 2022.

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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