India and New Zealand are likely to set up working groups in sectors such as agriculture, food processing, storage & transportation, forestry and pharmaceuticals to facilitate ongoing collaboration on key trade and economic issues, per an official statement.

In a series of bilateral meetings in New Zealand on April 26-27,  the two countries also sought to collaborate in area of pharmaceuticals and medical devices sector including adoption of fast tracking of regulatory process and quality assessment of manufacturing facilities using, as appropriate, the inspection reports of comparable overseas regulators. 

“Greater sourcing of medicines from India and cooperation in medical device sector was also discussed,” a statement issued by the Commerce Department on Thursday noted.

Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal, who headed the Indian delegation, met  Minister for Trade of New Zealand Todd McClay and Acting Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand Brook Barrington. He participated in the India-New Zealand Business Council (INZBC) and the 11th India-New Zealand Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting.

Discussions also included cooperation in horticulture sector, including cooperation in kiwi fruit sector to address issues of quality and productivity, proper storage in pack houses and their suitable transportation, and the dairy sector. “Once working groups are established, India and New Zealand will review the progress made by those working groups and the recommendations thereof at regular intervals,” the release stated.

Bilateral trade matters

The meetings addressed bilateral trade matters of mutual interest, including issues related to market access, non-tariff barriers (NTBs), and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures on products like grapes, okra and mangoes, mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) in organic products and simplified homologation including through mutual recognition of comparable domestic standards for vehicles.

The two sides decided to resolve these issues through dialogue and cooperation under the existing mechanism of JTC.