New Delhi, Aug.23: Latin American envoys to India have strongly advocated the need for enhanced commercial engagements between the two regional economic power-houses, while addressing Aspen Institute India’s special session on “India-Latin America: A Growing Partnership” in New Delhi.
In an engaging discussion, Brazilian Ambassador Carlos Sergio Sobral Duarte, his Mexican counterpart Jaime Virgilio Nualart Sanchez and the Ambassador of Chile, Cristian Barros Melet, unequivocally asserted that the time was ripe for India and Latin America to build on the fast-expanding canvas of opportunities in the two emerging economies.
Since the last few years, India and Latin American nations have been actively engaging with each other to widen the spectrum of economic engagements in diverse sectors.
The Ministry of External Affairs estimates that trade between the two regions could double in the next five years, or grow from the existing 30 billion dollars to 50 billion dollars by 2018.
One of India’s biggest trade collaborations in the region is with Brazil, which is also a key member of the BRICS bloc.
At present, India’s exports to Brazil stands at five billion dollars, the highest in the region followed by five billion dollars with Mexico.
India’s exports to Brazil are largely dominated by diesel followed by chemicals, pharmaceuticals, coal, textile and sugar. Given the increasing capacity of Brazil to produce oil and New Delhi’s ever-increasing dependence on imported oil, India is expected to increase its imports of crude oil in the coming years.
“India and Brazil share strongties across the spectrum. There is an inherent dynamism in our relationship, which is on the upswing despite the global economic slowdown. Due to this, the two nations have have witnessed a ten-fold increase in trade in the last decade itself. Bilateral trade reached $10 billion in 2012, and is set to touch the $15 billion mark by 2015. The challenge now is to diversify our economic engagements and to enable exchange of best practices,” said Brazilian Ambassador Carlos Sergio Sobral Duarte.
With Mexico, India’s bilateral trade is expected to reach 10 billion dollars by 2015 owing to better connectivity and a Free Trade Agreement.
Mexico’s imports from India grew at 33percent in 2011, with a well-diversified basket, comprising, inter alia, chemicals and petrochemicals, engineering goods, automobiles and auto parts, pharmaceuticals, textiles and garments, and gasoline.
“Our endeavour is to provide a robust economic framework for Indian and global investments. We wish to partner with Indian companies in the fields of science and innovations, biotechnology, water management and new and renewable energy. India and Mexico must work together as dynamic partners for sustained economic growth,” said Ambassador Jaime Virgilio Nualart Sanchez.
In the context of Chile, bilateral trade currently stands at 2.6 billion dollars, but there is scope for greater cooperation. Indian commercial vehicles, motor cars, two wheelers, and bulk pharmaceuticals are in demand in the Chilean market.
A Framework Agreement aimed at promoting economic cooperation between India and Chile came into force in 2007, which envisaged a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries as a first step.
“During the last twenty years, India has become of economic presence in almost every country in Latin America. Since 2000, Indian companies have invested over 12,000 million dollars in this region in various economic sectors such as IT, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, mining, energy and manufacturing. At the same time, Chile has emerged as one of the world’s most open economies, with a growth rate of five percent. This new economic scenario has deepened the relationship between both countries. Chile and India have been steadily establishing dynamic ties with political and commercial engagements,” stressed the Ambassador of Chile, Cristian Barros Melet. (ANI)