India and New Zealand today decided to amend the bilateral tax treaty and expressed commitment to work towards a comprehensive free trade agreement with a view to boost economic ties.
The two sides also vowed to press for successful negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), said the joint statement issued after the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with New Zealand counterpart John Key.
The two-way trade between the countries stood at $1.8 billion, showing an increase of 42 per cent in the past five years.
“The Prime Ministers expressed their wish for greater bilateral trade and investment,” said the joint statement.
The two countries also agreed to amend “the bilateral Double Taxation Agreement to bring its tax cooperation provisions into line with international best-practice”.
India has been revising double taxation avoidance pacts with countries with a view to check tax evasion and bring them in line with OECD norms.
As regards the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the statement said both sides committed to work towards a “high-quality, comprehensive and balanced bilateral FTA which would deliver meaningful commercial outcomes to both sides.
They vowed to ensure that India and New Zealand contribute to a high-quality, comprehensive outcome to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, of which both countries are parties.
The RCEP talks started in Phnom Penh in November 2012. The 16 countries account for over a quarter of the world’s economy, estimated to be more than $75 trillion.
The 16-member bloc RCEP comprises 10 Asean members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners — India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
At their meeting today, the two countries also announced conclusion of a Food Safety Cooperation Arrangement to encourage greater coordination between New Zealand and Indian food safety authorities, and supporting more efficient trade in food products, the statement said.