India’s trade with Latin America could go up to $50 billion by 2014 on the back of projected high economic growth in both the regions, said a senior government official.
“The region (Latin America) is going to be a regular source of imports of crude oil, edible oil, minerals, timber and other products which India needs to sustain its high growth. Agribusiness, food processing, energy and mining are the growth areas of Latin America and the Indian companies should target them for trade and investment,” said R. Viswanathan, India’s ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
At present, the Latin American region accounts for 4 per cent of India’s trade. Two-way trade between India and Latin America was recorded $23 billion in 2010. It included $9 billion of India’s exports to Latin America and imports of $14 billion.
India targets to increase its exports to Latin America to $20 billion by 2014.
Viswanathan said the region would also offer in the coming years great investment opportunities to Indian companies.
“The 2014 World Cup, 2016 Olympics and the $270 billion investment in hydrocarbons by Brazil are the big ticket projects offering unmissable opportunities for Indian companies.”
Latin America and the Caribbean region had an estimated 4.3 percent GDP growth in 2011 and it is projected to grow by 3.7 percent in 2012 despite the continuing crisis in Europe, uncertain outlook in United States and the slowdown in the Asian markets.
Both imports and exports of Latin America and the Caribbean region crossed the trillion dollar mark in 2011. Imports increased by 23 percent to $1.038 trillion, while exports increased by 23.1 percent to $1.097 trillion.
India is diversifying its product basket and foreign trade market to shield its economy from uncertainties in Europe and the US. It has increased economic engagement with Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
As part of its market diversification programme, the Indian government is offering various incentives to boost exports to Latin America and the Caribbean.
“There is a unique opening for India at this time. The Latin Americans are disillusioned with Europe and US who are facing crisis after crisis. They are reassessing the China euphoria after their industries and jobs have been hit hard by the flood of cheap imports,” said Viswanathan.
Latin America is a large market of 20 countries. India has entered into preferential trade agreements (PTAs) with Chile and the Mercosur bloc, comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Viswanathan said Latin Americans were attracted by the large, growing, democratic and non-threatening India which faces political and developmental circumstances similar to theirs.
“They see the value addition of Indian investment to their economies, industries and especially human resource development by the Indian IT and BPO companies who employ 20,000 Latin American youth,” he said.