Govt to push for FTA with Latin American nations

Financial Express | 15 July 2014

Govt to push for FTA with Latin American nations

Huma Siddiqui | New Delhi

Even as the government is to review its free-trade agreements with several countries in South and South East Asia, including the Asean region

Even as the government is to review its free-trade agreements with several countries in South and South East Asia, including the Asean region, it is set to push for new such pacts with countries in Africa and South America. This is part of its strategy for engagement with countries with potential to provide Indian entities greater scope for investment.

“Latin America and Africa presents a vast market for Indian companies that has remained largely untapped. Graduall,y the scenario is changing as resource base and market dynamics are encouraging investments from India. An FTA will be a win-win for India here,” said a senior commerce ministry official.

The Modi government has indicated that it will review several of the FTAs the country has signed over the years, especially those that have resulted in loss to the Indian industry. But, at the same time, it is pushing for active engagement with African and Latin American countries, expanding the scope of bilateral trade and providing ground for more investment by Indian companies.

“During his visit to Brazil for BRICS summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet leaders of 11 South American countries on July 16. These include leaders from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela,” said Dinkar Khullar, secretary, West, MEA,

According to Javier Paulinich, ambassador of Peru to India, “India and Peru may also hold bilateral meeting during the summit and discuss boosting trade and investments between the two countries and also take the process of a proposed FTA forward. A team of Peruvian officials are already slated to visit New Delhi in August at the invitation of the commerce ministry.”

Aiming to increase current bilateral trade from $1.5 billion to $2 billion between Peru and India, the South American nation is looking to take the proposal of FTA with the Modi government.

The new Peruvian foreign minister, Gonzalo Gutiérrez, recently mapped out some key priorities for Peruvian foreign policy and highlighted FTA with India as priority.

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