“Post-COVID: Indian businesses could focus on Pharma, electric vehicles, medical devices and automotive steel,” India’s envoy to Mexico

By: |
March 19, 2021 2:05 PM

India-Mexico bilateral trade had crossed the US$ 10 billion mark in 2018, however there was a slight drop in 2019 because of a significant economic downturn in that country.

Manpreet VohraSenior diplomat Manpreet Vohra, a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, present Ambassador of India to Mexico, is going to move to Australia as the next High Commissioner. (Photo source: Facebook)

India-Mexico bilateral trade had crossed the US$ 10 billion mark in 2018, however there was a slight drop in 2019 because of a significant economic downturn in that country. In 2018, Mexico became India’s top trading partner in Latin America. And for the first time India was among the top ten commercial partners of Mexico. Why? Because the bilateral trade in 2018 reached more than US $ 10 billion, which was quadruple that of 2009.

As has been reported earlier by Financial Express Online, Crude oil has been the main product exported by Mexico to India and after the US India is the second-biggest supplier of motorcars and other transport vehicles for Mexico.

Senior diplomat Manpreet Vohra, a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, present Ambassador of India to Mexico, is going to move to Australia as the next High Commissioner. His appointment comes at a time when the bilateral ties between India-Australia are witnessing an up-swing and both countries are strengthening their relationship in the Indo-Pacific region.

Before moving to his next appointment, Ambassador Vohra gives updates on some of the important aspects of India-Mexico Bilateral Relationship.

Following are excerpts from Ambassador Vohra’s conversation with Huma Siddiqui:

What is the bilateral trade between India and Mexico as you leave for your next posting?

I am happy that commercial relations between India and Mexico continue to be strong. Our bilateral trade had crossed the US$ 10 billion mark in 2018 but there was a slight drop in 2019 because of a significant economic downturn in Mexico. 2020, of course, was a year of aberration for all of us but it is very heartening to note that, despite the Covid pandemic, India’s exports to Mexico increased by 16% to US$ 4.26 billion, US$ 3.68 billion in 2019. Equally impressive is the fact that some major Indian and Mexican companies have announced significant investments in the other country even during the pandemic. This demonstrates that the foundations are robust for further growth in our economic and commercial relations as the situation normalizes and the projected economic recovery kicks in for both India and Mexico.

Which are the focus areas post-COVID where the Indian companies can explore?

Every crisis also offers opportunities. Some of the areas which could be explored by Indian companies to focus on in Mexico are:

Export of pharmaceutical products including vaccines, medical devices and generic drugs;

Export of small cars, 2-wheelers and 3-wheelers, and electric vehicles;

Manufacturing of automobile components and automotive steel in Mexico;

And, export of mobile phones, Digital technologies, including fintech.

What about India and Mexico working together in the Pharma sector?

This would be a significant area and a win-win for both India and Mexico. Our #VaccineMaitri, Make-in-India and Make for the World initiatives, have demonstrated the strengths, capabilities and capacities of the Indian pharmaceutical industry. The realization has now set in that Mexico ought to be making greater use of the high-quality and affordable medicines that India produces and exports to all major markets, and that Mexico too should be importing much more than it presently does.There is great interest now from the Government of Mexico to do so, and I believe that the coming months and years may well see a significant jump in our pharmaceuticals exports to Mexico.

Besides the 870,000 doses of Covishield vaccines that Mexico received from the Serum Institute of India in February, with more to come, we are hopeful that Mexico will soon authorize the use of Covax from Bharat Biotech also. A technical committee of experts has already given its ´favorable opinion´ for this.

With the government opening the Space Sector for private players too, do you think the two countries can explore further?

This is an area of increasing collaboration between India and Mexico. ISRO and the Mexican Space Agency already have a cooperation agreement under which ISRO is assisting with capacity building and training of Mexican officials in the observation and management of forest-fires. Further ideas are being explored. Recently, on 27 February, ISRO’s PSLV launched a Mexican nano-satellite into space. Mexico is also steering the creation of a new CELAC Space Agency and is discussing possible collaboration with ISRO on this. Our private players can be expected to usher in new and innovative niche areas for application of space technologies, particularly for socio-economic development, environment management etc, and these are bound to be of interest to Mexico too.

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