Dairy stalls India-NZ Free Trade talks

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags International trade East asia Asia

A Rajasthani dairy farmer
A Rajasthani dairy farmer
Free trade discussions between India and New Zealand have hit an obstacle with the former refusing any concrete move to open its dairy sector to the Kiwis.

The two nations have been working towards a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), but progress has stalled with the Indian government maintaining its silence on opening India’s dairy and farm goods sector to imports.

India’s tariffs on dairy products range between 20% and 60% - levels that are prohibitive for Kiwi dairy firms to serve the Indian market that is growing at more than 5% per year.

Paul McGilvary, chief executive officer of New Zealand­based dairy cooperative, Tatua, told FoodNavigator-Asia his company had been researching possible partnerships in India for its portfolio of dairy protein hydrolysates, bioactive proteins, phospholipid fat products.

“The FTA will definitely help Kiwi dairy companies break into this large market, and would also be advantageous to their local partners who will benefit from Kiwi Intellectual Property, technology, and practices,” ​he said.

The FTA was supposed to cover goods, services and investment and be concluded by March this year, and was important for both sides: India to export its skilled professionals and New Zealand to grow its food production sector.

Dairy resistance

India’s Ministry of Commerce has told a New Zealand delegation the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is yet to approve any accord. India is yet to give dairy concessions to any of its other FTA partners including Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The delegate’s visit represented the eighth round of negotiations dating back to 2009.

The Ministries were not available for comment at the time of publication.

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