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New Zealand keen to boost trade with India

October 07, 2005 11:46 IST
The New Zealand High Commission has commissioned a study on the market potential of New Zealand pine in India, the opportunities and limitations.

Paul Vaughan, trade commissioner, New Zealand High Commission, in the city for the New Zealand Education Fair said that traditionally along with high quality wool, coal and leather, New Zealand has also exported high grade timber to India. 

The study will be conducted over a period of six months and will address the potential of New Zealand pine in light of the contemporary real estate boom in the country, added Vaughan. 

There were initial misgivings about the pine surviving and acclimatising itself in balmy Indian weather, explained Vaughan. New Zealand exporters have now devised a way to address such concerns with different curing and treating processes for the timber.

There are about 200 saw millers in Kandla, Gujarat who source such wood and sort according to usage in packaging or real estate sectors.

The New Zealand High Commission wants a more organised set-up to promote the cause of the fine grained, high quality New Zealand pine and in the course of the next three months are on the lookout for a strategic partner in the form of real estate companies, furniture manufactures, etc.

Talks are on for such an alliance, pointed out Vaughan. Last year imports from New Zealand to India stood at NZ$ 400 million.

The value is expected to rise by NZ$200 million this year with the thrust on New Zealand pine business and a new coal investment in Pyke River with a capacity of 150,000 tonne with most of it due to be exported to India, Vaughan outlined.

The Pyke River is a proven resource with about six months development time. Vaughan lamented that besides Tata Consultancy Services and another two information technology companies and a bit of footwear, Indian companies hardly have any presence in New Zealand.

There are sectors with shortfalls like motor vehicles, textiles (only high value fashion garments are indigenous) and furniture where there is a major Chinese presence but not much awareness exists about Indian companies, stated Vaughan.

Aviation is another sector where Vaughan foresees a lot of activity. Currently New Zealand companies are handling the airport security systems for Bangalore and Hyderabad airports and Auckland based baggage handling company Glidepath is doing the baggage handling for the New Delhi airport, stated Vaughan.

New Zealand wants to make the transition from a suitable film shooting locale to co-producing and handling outsourced post production work from the Indian and specifically Hindi film industry.

Vaughan disclosed that a delegation comprising film producer and investor supported by trade commission staff was on a five day India tour meeting film production houses as well as independent producers with about 20 appointments in five days.

"We are expecting something to be finalised and post the confirmation with local partners we will approach the government for necessary procedures," remarked Vaughan.

About three to four Hindi films are slated to be shot in New Zealand this year and highlighting successful joint ventures in animation, Vaughan cited the example of Brotown, the internationally acclaimed animation series conceptualised in New Zealand but the animation done in India.

BS Bureau in Kolkata