India is New Zealands twenty-fifth largest export market, generating export earnings of only NZ $157 million in 2003. At present, New Zealands key exports to India are wool and wood products which reached NZ $50 million last year and represented 32 per cent of total exports and are used predominantly in carpets for export.
With New Zealand having an abundance of wood, this an area where it is trying to boost exports to India.
Log exports generated NZ $20.5 million last year, accounting for 13 per cent of New Zealands exports to India. Substantial growth is expected in the forestry industry, as India makes moves to protect its native forests, resulting in the need to source timber externally to meet the growing demand in construction and other building industries.
Speaking to FE, Michael Swain, New Zealand deputy high commissioner, said there was an opportunity for cooperation in sustainable forestry, where New Zealand can help with timber plantation. Also, the country can help in supplying wood products since there is abundance of wood.
He said there was great potential to increase cooperation between the two countries and his country was willing to explore the IT sector in India.
While it is too early to look at any defined cooperation, but Biotech is big in New Zealand. And we have started now looking at India exploring avenues for tie ups and joint ventures, he added.
Officials from New Zealand have had a few meetings with officials in different departments. And are keen to work on removing barriers in trade and are concentrating on promote trade in targeted sectors, the deputy high commissioner said.
Though the trade is not very high in terms of numbers between the two countries but education and tourism is one area where the response has been tremendous and each year in September there are road shows to promote New Zealand as a destination for education, he said.
Trade in services, predominantly in education and tourism, is increasing. In 2002, education accounted for NZ $51 million in services revenue, and tourism was worth NZ $57 million, Mr Swain pointed out.
Graeme Waters, New Zealands next high commissioner to India, starting in July, has said in a statement that India is an increasingly important partner for New Zealand.