India and New Zealand are discussing the possibility of introducing the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in the island country with a view to promoting ease of doing business, trade and tourism between the countries, the commerce ministry said on Tuesday.
The two countries are also looking at ways to allow the import of wooden logs from New Zealand. These issues were discussed during a bilateral meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor on Monday here. “Ministers welcomed early discussions between National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Payments NZ regarding the UPI system and agreed that both sides should continue deliberations on this issue. They agreed that introduction of UPI in New Zealand would promote ease of doing business between both the countries and promote trade and tourism as well,” the ministry said.
In 2022, the National Payments Corporation Of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation offering UPI services, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with France’s fast and secure online payment system, called Lyra. In 2023, UPI and Singapore’s PayNow signed an agreement, allowing users in either country to make cross-border transactions. The UAE, Bhutan and Nepal have already adopted the UPI payment system. The NPCI international is in talks to extend the UPI services in the US, European countries, and West Asia. On mangoes, the ministry said India recently started exporting mangoes to New Zealand.
Further, it said that the two sides discussed possible innovative technical collaboration in the field of agriculture and horticulture, including Kiwi fruit; pharmaceutical; processing, storage and transportation. “Ministers acknowledged the desirability of improving air connectivity between New Zealand and India, and welcomed the finalisation of the MoU to further liberalise the bilateral Air Services Agreement between the two countries,” it added. India’s exports to the island country rose to USD 548 million in 2022-23 from USD 487.6 million in 2021-22. Imports too have increased to USD 478 million in 2022-23 from USD 375 million in 2021-22.
Indian students are the second largest number of international students for New Zealand. India primarily imports logs and forestry products, wood pulp, wool and edible fruit and nuts. Main exports include pharmaceuticals, precious metals and gems, textiles and motor vehicles and non-knitted apparel and accessories. All major Indian IT companies are present in New Zealand. Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and New India Assurance have commercial operations in that country.