India, IBSA, Mercosur tieup on the anvil

New Delhi, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2005, 05:54am hrs
Following the signing of an agreement between India and the Mercosur (comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) operationalising the preferential trade agreement (PTA) signed last year, the countries are examining the possibility of a triangular trade alliance between India, Mercosur and IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa). The concept of the triangular alliance was mooted at the IBSA meeting held in New Delhi on Saturday, an official release said.

Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim described the India-Mercosur agreement as a path-breaking pact of extreme importance which would open new doors to trade among member nations.

According to Indian commerce minister Kamal Nath, the operationalisation of the PTA was an important milestone in the economic history of the five signatory countries. The countries would now be looking forward to increasing the coverage of products as well as deepening the preferences in the PTA so that they make the transition from a PTA to a FTA a reality in the future, he said.

The aim of the agreement is to expand and strengthen the existing relations between Mercosur and India and to promote the expansion of trade by granting reciprocal fixed tariff preferences with the ultimate objective of creating an FTA between the parties.

India had a total trade of $1.5 billion with the Mercosur during calendar year 2004.