India, Brazil and South Africa are planning to enter into a trilateral free trade agreement, linking three economic powerhouses of Asia, Latin America and Africa in what would be a major South-South FTA. It is still unclear whether IBSA would liberalise trade between the three national markets or those of SACU (for South Africa), Mercosur (for Brazil) and India.
IBSA as an institution is making slow progress and it seems likely that some FTA between the three will eventuate. In April 2010 the three governments signed scientific cooperation agreements. South Africa hosted the fifth annual IBSA Dialogue Forum in October 2011.
last update: May 2012
photo: GovernmentZA/CC BY-ND 2.0
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday spoke strongly in favour of the newly emerging trilateral co-operation between India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA), saying all three countries stand to benefit from it in working for their energy security, creating synergies in trade and technology and in enhanced transport connectivity.
President Thabo Mbeki says IBSA’s (India-Brazil-South Africa’s) time has arrived to make a mark on world trade. He was addressing the IBSA summit in Brazil and called on developing nations to form strong partnerships and strategic alliances in the wake of the recent collapse of the Doha round of trade talks.
The Prime Minister of India, H.E. Manmohan Singh, the President of Brazil, H.E. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the President of South Africa, H.E. Thabo Mbeki, expressed their full support and commitment to the expeditious establishment of the Working Group to focus on the modalities for the envisaged India-Mercosur-SACU Trilateral Free Trade Agreement (T-FTA).
IBSA will be a powerful bloc in south-south cooperation with echoes of ‘non-alignment’ in earlier times but from the economic point of view, IBSA is a little fictitious” was Union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh’s reported take on this regional formation that includes India-Brazil-South Africa just ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Brazil and Cuba to attend an IBSA and NAM summit.
During the triangular IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) political summit on September 13 in Brazil, Mercosur is likely to propose South African Customs Union (SACU) and India the creation of a working group to explore the modalities of a trilateral free trade agreement (T-FTA) among them.
Even as the Indian government faces the heat over the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) on farmers, a detailed plan for the country’s first trilateral FTA has landed up at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s doorstep.
When Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attends the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) summit in Brazil on September 13, one of the main issues on the agenda is the possibility of a trilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the regional groupings in Latin America and South Africa.
Although India, Brazil, and South Africa share bilateral trade agreements amongst themselves, binding trilateral free trade arrangements between the countries are not an option at the present time because of previously signed multinational agreements involving their neighboring nations.
India announced that it is evolving an agreement in maritime shipping within IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) and working out modalities to implement the framework agreement in civil aviation in the region. It cautioned, however, that since Brazil and South Africa were members of MERCOSUR and SACU, there were constraints in working out a trilateral FTA within the IBSA framework.
Terming an India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Free Trade Agreement as a “distinct possibility”, the Indian government said it is looking at other ways of enhancing trade relationship with the two countries.