Trade, commerce and investment are the most important drivers of India-Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) relationship, says the government. From $ 2 bn in 2000, trade grew to $ 35 bn 2017-18. Inaugurating the 8th India –LAC Conclave in Chile, Minister of State for External Affairs in his inaugural address Gen VK Singh said, “The complementary nature and synergy between the two sides offer tremendous opportunities for further enhancing Trade and Investments.”
“The conclave in Santiago will provide Indian businessmen the opportunity to visit and get a direct, first-hand impression of the regions’ potential to become a major partner for India in trade, commerce and investments,” Singh said. “At the same time, it will be instrumental in providing the businesses from the LAC region a platform to interact with a large Indian delegation with a diverse background.”
This is the 8th Conclave in the series but only the second Conclave to be held outside India. As reported by FE Online earlier, India and Chile in 2017 had operationalised the expanded India-Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) which also incorporates new chapters on Rules of Origin, Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, which would contribute to the reduction of non-tariff barriers.
Anita Nayar, Indian ambassador to Chile told FE Online earlier that, “The choice of Chile for the conclave is very strategic. It is also a signal that Indian businesses are looking towards Chile and vice versa.” As a founding member of the Pacific Alliance, of which India is an observing member, Chile lays the foundation that counts it as the world’s eighth-largest economy. Significantly, the country was the first in the region to establish diplomatic relations with India 70 years ago.
According to reports, Chile is currently the fourth largest trading partner of India in the LAC region, with 89% of its exports comprising products from the mining sector. At the two day Conclave from Oct 1, the minister has urged business in various sectors especially in the agriculture, pharmaceuticals and others to join hands and work together.
“Several countries in the region are agriculture powerhouses with large exportable surpluses. Opportunities for trade, investment and cooperation in this sector would not only generate export revenues but also bolster food security for India’s population of 1.3 billion. We envisage joint venture projects for cultivation of lentils, oil-seeds and food grains, improving in-situ storage to reduce produce-wastage, sharing of best practices and joint research and collaboration in sectors such as dairy farming, seeds and pulses and many other forms of cooperation in the agricultural sector,” Singh added.
India is also targeting the pharmaceutical market in Chile and is among the top 10 Indian exports to the country. Both countries are in discussions to finalize phyto-sanitary requirements for the export of avocados, walnuts and blue berries from Chile and the import of mango, coco peat, and pomegranate from India, the Indian envoy added.