The tyranny of geographical distance that limited India-LAC bilateral trade and investment flows over the years is being reigned in as businesses on both sides show greater intent to enter into collaborative arrangements for diverse reasons like infrastructure development, market access, transfer of technology, outsourcing, capacity building and skills development. This is writ large in the bilateral trade and investment patterns. As a case in point, India-LAC bilateral trade flows have increased four-fold in the last five years, from $4.2 billion in 2004-05 to $16.1 billion in 2008-09. But, this is apparently the tip of the iceberg.
The 4th India-Latin America and Caribbean Conclave, organised by CII in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of External Affairs, and EXIM bank of India in New Delhi during 29-30 April 2010, turned the spotlight on the key issues that underlie the bilateral business engagements.
Over 200 participants representing the Indian and LAC ministries and government departments, business groups, financial institutions and social organisations engaged in the interactive discussions covering sectors such as Agriculture and Food Processing, Infrastructure, Engineering, Project Management, Logistics and Transportation, IT & ITeS, Pharma, Healthcare and Medical Equipment.
Regional economic groupings in the LAC region have played a positive role in promoting the overall economic well-being of the region. From the Indian viewpoint, any deep engagement with a sub-regional group will provide a larger market access for key product and services. Mechanisms for financing business partnerships were also discussed in depth.
The B2B sessions witnessed over 350 business meetings and were an integral part of the programme where 90 plus projects worth over US$10 billion were discussed. Proposals for M&As with a total estimated value of $283 million were discussed. These discussions covered sectors, apart from those listed above, such as, Sugar, Ethanol, Textiles, Cosmetics and Beauty Products, Herbal Products, Consumer Durables and Kitchenware, Auto Components Chemicals, Construction, Rail Road System, Steel Bridges, Waste Water Treatment, Hospital Infrastructure, Industrial Consultancy, Free Zones, Mining & Mining Equipment, Oil and Gas, Steel, Coking coal, Biotechnology, Tourism & Services, Energy, Electric Equipment, Wood and Furniture, etc.
14 LAC countries were represented - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela.