TIL sponsor in Confederation Of Indian Industry, Chennai.

25 July 2012

Need for greater partnership between India and Latin America & Caribbean countries    Jul 17, 2012

The need and opportunity for greater partnership between India, and Latin America & Caribbean countries, built on the political, economic and cultural strengths of both the regions, were stressed and highlighted by    Mr M Ganapathi, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and H.E. Mr Javier Paulinich,  Ambassador of Peru and Chairman of Grouping of Latin American & Caribbean Ambassadors (GRULAC), here on Tuesday.

Addressing a Seminar on ‘India and Latin America & Caribbean: Doing Business in Emerging Markets’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in which  eight  Ambassadors and one Minister Counselor of nine Latin American and Caribbean countries participated, Mr Paulinich said,  “as Ambassadors it was our duty to spread the opportunities of a region that brings to India one of the most favourable economic investment environments as well as diversified and great quality goods. Latin America also needs Indian goods and technology’’.

But trade between the two regions was limited to a few products. The Latin American trade with India was in raw materials with little value addition. Indian exports to Latin America were concentrated in industrialized goods and there was big asymmetry in investment flows between the regions, he said.

Mr Paulinich said the situation could be improved by diversification of trade, opening of markets and removing trade barriers through trade agreements and increased commercial and business meetings, more proactive trade and investment polices and creating regional business alliances linking  businessmen and the people of both the regions.

India has been offering Latin America computer services and science, information and communication technologies and services including construction, manufacture and pharmaceutical industries, Mr Paulinich said.

He said food security, raw materials, sustained economic growth, common values and similarity of socio-economic challenges were the four essential characteristics between Latin America and the Caribbean and India regions.

About food security he said India needed great amount of food and Latin American region had large fertile territory and water resources and the region was top exporters of many food items like edible oils and several fruits. In raw materials Latin American countries have a huge mineral resources like 40% of world’s copper, 45% of silver reserves, larger iron ore and gold mines, besides the huge hydrocarbon reserves. In Latin America, families were the centers of the society, and democracy was their Government system, he said.

He said both the regions faced several common challenges like poverty  eradication, improving living standards of the populations and attaining food security.

Mr M Ganapathi, said that the India – Latin America trade was only $25 billion, just 1 per cent of the trade of the region.  India’s investment in the region was only $15 billion. Latin America’s investment in India was not even $1 billion.   “We cannot be satisfied with that, we have to look at greater numbers. We should have greater engagement through mutual investment in both  the  regions  and there is a win-win situation possibility which we have to take advantage of .  Partnership will take us a long way forward and that is mutually beneficial’’, he said. The partnership could be in areas like food, energy, IT, entertainment and cinema, he said.

Mr Ganapathi said the relationship should not be that of donor-recipient but of partnership. He said there would be an institutionalized mechanism and activities for fostering India, Latin America relationship and South-South co-operation.  He said there would soon be a `India, Latin America Summit’.

Mr R Viswanathan, Former Indian Ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, said the Latin American countries have achieved greater political stability and macro-economic resilience and there was a great opportunity for India both for investments and for  import of energy, food and minerals.  Already Indian IT and BPO and manufacturing companies have made investments in the region. India has been importing crude and minerals from Latin America. The business relations could be increased substantially, he said.

Mr T T Ashok, Immediate Past Chairman, CII Southern Region and Managing Director, Taylor Rubber Pvt Ltd, said India was looking for new markets and geographies  like Africa and the Latin America and Caribbean as there had been a slow down in its traditional markets in Europe and North America.

Latin America as a region recorded the highest percentage increase in FDI inflows  of $ 153 billion proving the macroeconomic stability, resistance to external turbulence and the continuing and growing investor confidence in the region.

Co-operation was possible between South India and the Latin America and Caribbean in the areas of manufacturing, MSMEs, auto and auto-components, new and renewable energy, especially wind and solar, mining and infrastructure, he said.

However, there was need for awareness creation and greater people- to- people relationship. There was also need for ease of doing business, Mr Ashok said.

Mr M Velmurugan, Executive Vice-Chairman, Guidance Bureau, Industries Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, made a presentation on investment opportunities in Tamil Nadu and the State’s vision for 2023.

Ambassadors of  Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic,  El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and Minister Counsellor (Commercial), ProChile Trade Office, Embassy of Chile made presentations on their respective countries.