The government is in advanced talks with Peru over a proposed free trade agreement, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said on Thursday. Speaking at the Latin America and Caribbean Conclave organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, she added an agreement facilitating more trade with Chile would soon be announced. Current annual trade with Peru is $1.1 billion. Major exports involve automobiles and cotton. India imports minerals and precious metals like gold. The secretary called for more trade in mining, information technology and allied services, and environmental technology. The Vice President of Costa Rica was present at the event, as were the ministers of foreign trade and industry from Nicaragua, Uruguay and Ecuador. An estimated $45 bn is the total two-way trade India has with the Latin American and Caribbean region, up from $3.7 bn a decade earlier. This is five per cent of our total international trade.
The government wishes to widen the scope of its preferential trade agreement (PTA) with the Mercosur bloc (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay). India has partial admission in the regional bloc and about two-thirds of its total trade with the region is through this avenue. The PTA should be re-examined because it is “limited in many ways”, said Teaotia. It came into force from June 1, 2009.
Pharmaceutical companies like Ranbaxy are also active in the region which is a hub for the industry.