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The preferential trade agreement between India and the MERCOSUR trading bloc needs to be expanded by increasing the number of products to 2,500 to boost economic ties, the government said today. The issue, among others, was discussed during the meeting here of Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Brazilian counterpart Marcos Pereira. MERCOSUR comprises Latin American nation -- Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. "Both Ministers expressed the need to strengthen the India-MERCOSUR PTA and expand the items on offer from both sides to at least 2,500 from the current 450 as this would greatly benefit the two way trade," the commerce ministry said in a statement. The leaders emphasised on the need for having close cooperation between India, Brazil and other MERCOSUR partners to ensure that the expansion process does not spill over beyond end of next year, it added. India-MERCOSUR preferential trade agreement (PTA) came into effect from June 1, 2009. The major sectors covered in the offer list under the PTA include meat, chemicals, leather goods, iron and steel products, machinery items and electrical machinery. The Brazilian minister is here to participate in the BRICS summit on October 15-16. Further seeking investments from Brazil, Sitharaman mentioned the improvement in ease of doing business in India and influx of huge amount of FDI into the country. "Investments from Brazil has been modest and below potential," it said adding that both countries should take measures to enhance two way investment. The bilateral trade between India and Brazil was USD 6.69 billion in 2015-16.
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