India is seeking to enhance its trade ties with Latin America, which currently approaches $50 billion, according to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Speaking at the India-Colombia Business Forum in Colombia’s capital on Thursday, Jaishankar highlighted that Indian companies are investing significantly in sectors like energy, mining, agriculture, and automobiles, and executing projects in infrastructure, power transmission, and mining. Additionally, Indian companies are delivering products in the shipping and aviation domain.
Jaishankar said that during his four-nation trip to Latin America, he aims to explore ways to upgrade India’s level of cooperation with the region. He emphasized that while the natural desire is to expand trade volumes, the decision before them is when, where, and how much to invest. Jaishankar also pointed out the importance of assessing the comparative ease of doing business, focusing on market access issues, regulatory complexities, and non-tariff barriers, as well as the predictability of the business environment.
The External Affairs Minister noted that during the Covid-19 pandemic, India established itself as the pharmacy of the world by supplying almost 100 countries with vaccines and 150 countries, including from the developed world, with an increased supply of relevant medicines. He encouraged Colombian investors to consider the Indian industry as their natural partner, particularly in light of more sources, regionalized production, and competitive pricing.
Jaishankar highlighted the areas of potential engagement between India and Colombia, including traditional medicine and wellness practice, the digital domain, which has seen exceptional progress in India, and energy, which forms the core of Colombia’s exports to India. The External Affairs Minister stated that India will be driving much of the additional demand for fossil fuel in the coming decades, making a stronger case for more sustained partnerships. He also noted that India is extremely active when it comes to renewables and electric mobility, two areas of potential engagement.
Jaishankar urged all stakeholders to factor in emerging capabilities and look for new domains that meet emerging demands, emphasizing that businesses will go where it is welcome, where it is mutually beneficial, and where it is encouraged by the policy. Jaishankar is on a nine-day trip to Guyana, Panama, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, his first visit as the external affairs minister to these Latin American countries and the Caribbean.