India is keen on improving relationship with Latin American countries, and a number of senior government officials will soon visit the region to fully exploit trade possibilities that it offers. Minister of state for external affairs General Vijay Kumar Singh, along with a delegation of the ministry, is already visiting Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Jamaica; while commerce secretary Rita Teotia, accompanied by senior officials from her ministry, will soon leave for Colombia and Ecuador. “The visit by commerce secretary to Ecuador is to attend the first meeting of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), and in Colombia commerce ministry officials will attend a business development cooperation meet where an Indian business delegation too will be present,” sources told FE.
The protocol for establishing the India-Ecuador JETCO was signed in 2015 with the aim of further improving and strengthening the bilateral trade relationship. The JETCO will function as the primary forum for discussion and other promotional activities on trade and investment. It will be meeting once in every two years.
A team comprising senior officials from the MEA and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is expected to head towards Lima, Peru, in July for the first round of negotiations for a comprehensive trade pact. “Work has already started with Peru. India and Peru see immense opportunities in each other and both the economies can work together well,” sources said.
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Back home, the CII is organising an event to present the industry’s view of investment potential in the region. Indian ambassadors and high commissioners in Latin American countries will take part in the event on May 3. So far, twelve heads of Indian missions in various countries in that region have confirmed participation.
India’s commercial relationship with the LAC region has increased manifold over the past decade, reaching a peak of $50 billion in trade and $20 billion in Indian investment in the region. Latin America is now India’s largest destination of car and motorcycle exports, and the LAC region is becoming a hub for Indian IT companies. India is one of the top buyers of Latin America’s vegetable oils, mining and mineral products, and crude oil. Some of the countries besides Peru are willing to sell gold to India.