India's engagement with LAC (Latin American Countries) has gained further momentum with recent developments that have taken place, informed ministry of Commerce and Industry in a press statement on Friday.
India signed an agreement on the expansion of India-Chile PTA in New Delhi on 6th September, 2016. The expanded PTA will have far greater trade coverage in comparison to the agreement signed earlier in March, 2006 as both sides have offered tariff concessions on a number of lines, it said.
In recent years, Trade between India and Peru has been growing. India's trade with Peru stood at US$ 1,523.35 million during 2015-16. Among the top ten commodities of India's export to Peru are Motor Vehicle/Cars, Products of Iron and Steel, Cotton Yarn/ Manmade yarn/Fabrics. Drugs Formulations, Iron and Steel, Two and three wheelers, Auto Tyres and Tubes, Bulk Drugs and RMG Cotton including Accessories. The top ten commodities of India's import from Peru are Bulk Minerals and Ores (under this copper ore is the top most import commodity), Gold (wrought gold), Fertilizers Crude (under this natural calcium phosphate is the topmost import commodity), Zinc and products made of Zinc, Fresh Fruits, Inorganic chemicals, Cocoa Products Finished Leather and Aluminum & Aluminum products.
In order to explore the possibility of a trade agreement with Peru, India has concluded a Joint Study Group report on the feasibility of such a trade agreement during the recent visit of a delegation to Lima, Peru on 26-28 September, 2016. Both sides have agreed to a time frame to carry forward the discussions for negotiating a trade agreement. With the finalization of the report, India will now seek internal approvals of the Government of India for going ahead with the negotiations on a trade agreement which would include trade in goods, trade in services and investment. There is keen interest on the part of Peru also for negotiating a trade agreement at the earliest.
India is also aggressively engaged in the expansion of its Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with MERCOSUR (a Six Country trade bloc with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay as its original members). During the third meeting of the Joint Administrative Committee (JAC) on the expansion of the India-MERCOSUR PTA held on 29th September, 2016 in Brasilia, Brazil, there was expansive discussions on the ‘wish lists' which had been exchanged by both sides in July, 2016. Both sides are expected to hold the next round of negotiations early next year. The existing India MERCOSUR agreement was signed in New Delhi on January 25, 2004 which came into effect from 1st June, 2009. This agreement has a limited coverage and contains only 450 tariff lines. Both sides have now agreed to expand to cover up to 2500 tariff lines.
India's bilateral trade with MERCOSUR was US$ 10081.42 million in 2015-16 as compared to US$ 14,240.46 million in 2014-15 which constitute 37.01% and 39.96% of LAC trade during 2014-15 & 2015-16 respectively. With the expansion of the existing PTA, the bilateral trade is expected to be doubled.
India has held bilateral discussions with Brazil under the institutional mechanism i.e India-Brazil Trade Monitoring mechanism, the 4th meeting of which was held in Brasilia on 30th September, 2016 after a hiatus of more than four years. Both sides have discussed an array of bilateral issues which impede trade between both the countries. During the meeting India highlighted its concerns on issues relating to market access in agriculture, textiles, pharma and services including high tax on import of services to Brazil. Brazil has responded favorably and has assured to address these issues. Collaboration in areas such as auto, food processing, leather and civil aviation were also discussed. Both sides have agreed for discussions on an agreement on social security.
Both sides discussed setting up of the India-Brazil Business Leaders Forum for facilitating interaction and cooperation amongst the private sector.
Brazil is currently the leading trading partner of India in Latin America region. Total Bilateral trade with Brazil stood at US$ 6,690.33 million during 2015-16 and both sides agreed endeavor is to meet a trade target of US$ 15 billion by 2020.
Original Source: smetimes.in
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