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India-LAC trade up 20-fold yet since 2002; huge potential untapped: MEA official 

Business Standard , Jun 12, 2019

Mr G. V. Srinivas, Joint Secretary (LAC), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India today said the trade between India and the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region has grown 20-fold in last two decades but still there is a lot of potential.

Speaking at 'Industry Interaction on India-LAC Trade and Investment', organized by FICCI, jointly with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mr Srinivas said, "Trade between LAC and India has grown 20-fold from $2 billion in 2002 to $39 billion in 2018 with India's exports around $13 billion and imports of $26 billion." Both LAC countries and India have witnessed encouraging growth in recent years "though a lot of potential yet remains untapped", he added.

He further added that many leads have emerged from the recent interactions India had with the region including 'Lithium Triangle' of Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. The 'Lithium Triangle, he said is welcoming Indian companies to join in the value chain and Bolivia inviting Indian pharmaceutical companies to set up cancer drug manufacturing plant.

Mr James Scriven, CEO, IDB Invest (private sector arm of IDB Group committed to supporting the private sector in LAC) expressed his optimism on various opportunities for the Indian companies. IDB Invest would explore the possibilities of Indian companies engaging in the LAC region, he added.

"We have about $3.5 billion in assets under management with total assets around $12 billion. We have in our assets about 400 projects," he said. He further added that there are enormous opportunities for further collaboration between India and Latin American countries which together has a combined GDP of $8.4 trillion and combined population of over 2 billion.

Mr Scriven highlighted that the three areas which characterize the trade relations between India and LAC region can be converted as opportunities which include geographical concentration, goods concentration and low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI).