New Zealand’s largest ever business delegation to India has generated a remarkable amount of interest and support from Indian government and business organisations and “unparalleled” media coverage, with nearly 50 stories resulting through television, web, and print domains across the sub-continent.
The combination of five business organisations working together with ministerial and government agency support clearly struck a chord with the host nation, showing New Zealand’s commitment to re-prioritising the economic relationship. At a time when India’s successful moon landing was gaining world headlines and several other significant stories were breaking, positive developments in the bilateral trade relationship was the lead story on Indian national television.
Mission leader Michael Fox, Chair of the India NZ Business Council (INZBC) said he was very pleased with the renewed interest and sense of focus from both sides.
“I was very grateful to receive such a warm welcome from our Indian hosts. India is an incredible growth story; it’s the world’s fifth largest economy and will soon be third in the rankings. Our visit was about showing that we can complement India’s success and be a valuable development partner. It was partly an acknowledgement that we haven’t always given India the attention it deserves but that we are determined we will become a valuable economically. This delegation generated great interest and nearly 50 news stories, including leading on prime-time television, which is unparalleled”, Mr Fox said.
“This was New Zealand’s largest business delegation to India, but I expect we’ll break that record with visits next year and the year after that. Having the support of the Minister of Trade and Export Growth, Hon. Damien O’Connor was very helpful and the resulting discussions with several Indian ministerial counterparts has produced an MOU on civil aviation linkages, which I hope will eventually result in direct flights. We’ve seen progress on re-starting the log trade and explored opportunities in areas of shared interest like horticulture”, Mr Fox added.
CEO of the Auckland Business Chamber Simon Bridges said he felt the joint delegation had been very worthwhile. “Perhaps the most significant outcome of the visit was the relationships that delegation participants were able to build. India is now an economic superpower, and its pride and confidence is very evident. It has a young and talented population and there is just so much opportunity for New Zealand companies that are prepared to take a medium-term view and build on those relationships”, said Mr Bridges.
“The other significant thing is that this delegation has created is a platform for the next one. New Zealand businesses need to return in 2024, ideally with the support of the Prime Minister. We need to demonstrate a clear strategy which includes building on emerging partnerships with India’s priority sectors and focusing on a few key Indian states”, Mr Bridges concluded.
Note: The five business organisations leading the mission were: India NZ Business Council (INZBC), Auckland Business Chamber, EMA, Export NZ and the NZ International Business Forum.