Doors left open for India to join RCEP: New Zealand minister

Doors left open for India to join RCEP: New Zealand minister
GANDHINAGAR: New Zealand's minister of state for trade and export growth, Damien O'Connor, said on Thursday that doors are still open for India if it decided to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Talking to the media at AmulFed Dairy here, O'Connor, who is also the minister of agriculture, said besides New Zealand, other countries too wanted to see India become part of the free trade group.

"Yes, we are disappointed (by India's decision not to join RCEP). But the doors are left open for the issues, which India has, to be worked through," he said to a question.

Earlier this week, India, after the Leaders Summit in Bangkok, announced exit from the RCEP agreement which was being worked out by sixteen countries including New Zealand.

O'Connor claimed that New Zealand's dairy industry does not pose any threat to India's dairy sector.

Proposed opening up of the dairy sector to New Zealand under the RCEP was one of the key reservations of India.

"The total quantity of products that we would be exporting here will be very small. All our exports mainly go to China, Europe and the US. The amount of products coming to India will be very very small," O'Conor said.

"We had discussed this issue with Amul as well as the Indian government," said the minister, who is on his maiden visit to India.

AmulFed Dairy, located on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city, is part of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which sells 'Amul' brand of dairy products.

"This afternoon I visited India's biggest dairy company @Amul_Coop. We talked about how we can work together to increase production and improve farmer livelihoods here in India," O'Connor tweeted after visiting the facility with GCMMF Managing Director R S Sodhi.