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New Zealand trade minister to visit Anand

New Zealand’s Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor is likely to visit dairy giant Amul’s plant later this week to understand India’s dairy sector. Sources said Wellington is keen to understand how India’s cooperative dairy system works and the minister will visit all tiers of the cooperative system from the village societies.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 06, 2019, 10.54 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: New Zealand’s Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and chief negotiator for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP) Damien O’Connor is likely to visit dairy giant Amul’s plant later this week to understand India’s dairy sector.

Sources said Wellington is keen to understand how India’s cooperative dairy system works and the minister will visit all tiers of the cooperative system - from the village societies to the dairy plant and the marketing federation.

The visit comes close on the heels of India opting out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement on Monday, of which New Zealand is a member and was pushing for opening up of India’s dairy sector, triggering fears of dumping of dairy products from milk-surplus countries Australia and New Zealand.

“They want to understand how India’s cooperative dairy system works and will visit all tiers of the cooperative system. The visit was planned much in advance,” said one person aware of the details.


The dairy major will showcase the village dairy cooperative society, the district cooperative milk producers union (dairy plant) and the state cooperative milk marketing federation.

Amul had voiced its concerns on the proposed agreement, especially on the likely impact of offering zero duty imports of cheaper dairy commodities from Australia and New Zealand.

At one point in the negotiations, India was willing to liberalise the dairy sector for New Zealand and allow a tariff rate, quota-based access to skimmed milk powder and whole milk powder. Amul had sought exclusion of all dairy and dairy products from any trade agreement.

As per a NITI Aayog report, India's milk production is likely to touch 329.73 million tonnes (MT) by 2033, from the current about 180 MT with projected demand of 292 MT.

“Some officials visited us last year as well,” said the person, but ruled out any discussions on RCEP during O’Connor’s visit.

“Our stance is clear and we have clearly communicated our stance on RCEP to the negotiators. This is the model we show everyone who visits the plant and that is the programme. We don’t need to explain anything or convince anyone,” said the official.

India is the largest milk producing country in the world with 20% of world production.

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