PR No – 433
12th July, 2023
Technology-enabled solutions will help India unlock full potential: Shri G. V. Srinivas, Additional Secretary, MEA, Government of India
India’s trade with LAC grows at 35% in post-pandemic years. Trade deficit decelerates. India-LAC Bilateral trade expected to touch USD 50 billion by 2025: PHD Chamber
There is a need to adopt technology-driven solutions to overcome the complexities while navigating global business opportunities for India, stated G. V. Srinivas, Additional Secretary (LAC), Ministry of External Affairs, GOI, at the Conference titled ‘India’s Trade Opportunities with LAC countries-way forward in the futuristic perspective’, organised by the apex industry body, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).
Speaking at the conference, Shri Srinivas emphasised the importance of leveraging technology to overcome these challenges and unlock the full potential of trade opportunities between India and Latin American Countries (LAC).
Shri G. V. Srinivas stated that we need to move away from inefficient, suboptimal offline methods and embrace technology to provide an informed platform for connecting businesses on both sides.
Shri G. V. Srinivas emphasised the importance of identifying the right mediators and streamlining the process of connecting India and LAC businesses. He acknowledged the challenges posed by outdated directories, unreliable suppliers, and the need for comprehensive background research to ensure reliable and fruitful business engagements.
The Additional Secretary also highlighted the evolving nature of trade, which encompasses information exchange, tourism, investment, and technology transfer. He mentioned the significance of understanding the entire value chain and collaborating with entities that possess the necessary expertise to translate available resources into useful products and technologies.
He pointed out that the Ministry of External Affairs, along with the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, welcomes feedback and suggestions to enhance the utilisation of technology and improve connections between India and LAC countries.
Shri Dr. Akash Taneja, Additional DGFT, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, GOI, highlighted the strong relations between India and Latin American countries. Despite the geographical distances, both regions have built successful bilateral partnerships that exemplify South-South cooperation. He said that India and Latin America have emerged as new nerve centres of global trade in terms of production and consumption.
Dr. Taneja emphasised on the immense potential in the region, with countries like Brazil and Argentina offering vast land areas and a skilled workforce. The Indian diaspora is present in various Latin American countries, including Brazil, Paraguay, Guyana, and Suriname. These regions are rapidly growing as major importing economies, driven by robust domestic demand and economic competitiveness.
He explained that India should see this as a great opportunity to deepen economic engagement with Latin America and leverage technological advances in sectors such as aviation, FlexiFuel technologies, medicines, and agricultural technologies. India currently imports crude oil, copper, edible oils, and other materials from these countries, while also exporting manufactured goods and software services.
To strengthen trade ties, various platforms and forums for engagement have been established, including the India-LAC Conclave, India-SILAC Forum, SICA-Hind Dialogue, and the India-CARICOM Dialogue. Overcoming the distance barrier is a priority, and the Department of Commerce aims to increase trade thresholds to attract direct connectivity from shipping lines and airlines.
India aims to capitalise on shared values of entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity to create a win-win situation that drives economic growth and long-term prosperity. Dr. Taneja extended an invitation to trade and industry from Latin American and Caribbean countries to participate in the CIA-led India-LAC Conclave in August, emphasising its significance
Hemant Jain, Vice President of PHDCCI, stated that there has been a significant push for increased trade and investment between Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. This trend creates potential for collaboration between the two regions. The total trade volume between the LAC region has risen from $29 billion in 2017-18 to $39 billion in 2023. Additionally, trade between India and the LAC region reached $39.6 billion in 2022-23. In order to further enhance trade and investment, it is advisable to pursue a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Although some LAC countries have already signed a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), expanding it to an FTA would encourage even greater investment participation.
An analysis of India’s trade pattern with Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region conducted by PHD Research Bureau of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (attached) indicates that India’s merchandise trade with LAC region has shown high growth of 35% in the post-pandemic years (2021-22 and 2022-23 average), said Mr. Hemant Jain, Vice-President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a press statement issued here today.
India’s trade deficit with LAC region is decreased from USD 7 billion in 2021-22 to USD 4 billion in 2022-23, said Mr. Jain. The bilateral trade between India and LAC countries is expected to touch USD 50 billion by 2025, said PHDCCI.
H.E. Mr. Juan Rolando Angulo Monsalve, Ambassador of Chile to India highlighted the similarities between Latin America and India in terms of diversity, size, population, and various cultural aspects. He emphasised that conducting business in the region requires understanding the specific expectations and characteristics of each country. With a population of 650 million, the region boasts diverse languages, cultures, and natural resources.
India’s trade relationship with Latin America holds significant growth potential for both the region, stated Shri R. Viswanathan, Latin America Expert, and Former Ambassador. He informed that last year, India’s exports to Latin America surged, with Honduras receiving $273 million and Guatemala $466 million in goods, surpassing exports to Cambodia and Kazakhstan, respectively.
Ms. Shamma Jain, Former Ambassador, Greece, Panama, Costa Rica & Nicaragua, and Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea in West Africa highlighted the importance of the region amidst evolving geopolitical dynamics. She emphasised the significance of Latin America for trade, investments, and innovation. Ms. Jain revealed that India’s exports to Latin America reached nearly $50 billion last year, marking an impressive 19% increase.
Shri Veer Sagar, Chairman & CEO of Selectronic, emphasised the transformative power of technology in our lives, democratising access to its benefits. He highlighted that technology is breaking barriers and reaching everyone across various sectors. Sagar pointed out that India’s thriving startup ecosystem and advancements in IT position it as a hub for development.
Ms. Sofia Salas Monge, Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in India, highlighted the trade and investment potential between India and Costa Rica. She informed that Costa Rica, strategically located in Central America, serves as a gateway to the Latin American and North American continents.
Shri Saurabh Sanyal, CEO & Secretary General, PHDCCI, in his formal vote of thanks said that there is a great window of opportunity for Indian companies to undertake more investments in sectors like Pharmaceuticals, IT, energy. Emerging areas of cooperation like renewables, electric mobility, energy, digitalisation and e-commerce would also provide much needed trade diversification and access to new unexplored markets in LAC region.
Dr. S P Sharma, Chief Economist | DSG, PHDCCI, who moderated the conference, stated that we are currently the fastest-growing economy among the leading economies. He further emphasised that we will continue to maintain this position for the next 5 years.
A report entitled “An Analysis of India’s Trade Pattern with Latin American and Caribbean Countries” was also published at the conference.
PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry