As the five BRICS nations agreed to increase internal trade to up to $ 500 billion in the coming years at the recently-concluded summit in Goa, India has asked its LatAm partner Brazil to help expedite the process for the expansion of the India-MERCOSUR preferential trade agreement (PTA).
On the sidelines of the BRICS talks, during a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazil’s President Michel Temer on October 17, both sides highlighted the issue. All the member countries have agreed to work together in a modular manner so that the expansion can be completed on time. Right now, India along with the four countries have set 2018 for an expanded India-MERCOSUR PTA. Towards this, the plan is that next February, India and the members will have another round of discussions to expand the existing PTA, followed by a series of meetings by June-July.
However, some of the member countries including Brazil and Argentina are not happy to talk about services, hence the government has to work on lines where there will be large volumes as compared with others. Now, at the end of the recently-concluded meeting between leaders of India and Brazil, “The PMO has asked the MEA and the ministry of commerce & industry to take it forward and fast-track
it,’’ informed sources told FE.
“The two sides reached a common understanding to further diversify the trade basket. They expressed satisfaction at the progress made during the 4th Meeting of the Trade Monitoring Mechanism (TMM) in Brazil on September 30, 2016 and with the 3rd Meeting of the Joint Administration Committee of the India-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), held in Brasilia on 29th September 2016, at which parties agreed on modalities and timelines for the expansion of the agreement in order to allow for greater trade flows and improved market access between the countries,” said the joint statement released at the end of meetings between the two leaders earlier this week.
A group of four countries — Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay — have formed MERCOSUR. Together, they have a PTA with India and are seeking to expand it.