India has begun the process of expanding its preferential trade agreement with the Mercosur trade bloc, opening its market more to South America and negotiations are expected to start in a month or two. The number of products on which tariff concessions is given is likely to increase to more than 3,000 from 450 at present with more agricultural products getting covered in the pact.
India will be launching negotiations for a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) with Mercosur although it will first “expedite” talks for a preferential trade agreement with the South African Customs Union (SACU).
India emphasized the need to deepen trade and investment engagements with Latin America by expanding the existing PTA with Mercosur, during a business seminar in Montevideo, Uruguay. But he added that double tax and investment protections agreements are critical to expansion.
India is working on “upgrading” the tariffs agreement with Mercosur, which could translate in more items of trade being included in the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) or move to free trade agreement with the LATAM countries.
India is reaching out to emerging markets and Latin America, and more precisely Mercosur is a strategic priority, said India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) India-Uruguay business conference that hosted a large Uruguayan business delegation led by the country’s Vice-President, Danilo Astori.
India pledged on Thursday greater economic cooperation with Uruguay in sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, textiles, automobiles, machineries and IT. In 2009-10, bilateral trade stood at 64.3 million US dollars.