India Seeks Latin American Investors in Manufacturing and Infrastructure

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Dec. 11 – During a visit to India this week by business community leaders from Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries, India indicated it was actively seeking LAC investment in its manufacturing, infrastructure, and agricultural processing sectors.

Led by Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas Espinel, the 250 member business delegation will attend a number of events and meetings hosted by the Indian Government and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi and Mumbai.

It is reported that projects worth over US$35 billion were offered to business leaders during the CII-hosted opening event yesterday.

“What LAC countries need to discover is the attractiveness of the market here and in particular manufacturing. That is where the Indian market is ideally placed to receive investments,” Secretary of Industrial Policy and Promotion Suarabh Chandra said at a CII function.

Chandra also briefed the delegation about India’s National Manufacturing Policy (NMP), which provides financial incentives to overseas investors, and 2013 changes in FDI policy.

The NMP aims to raise the share of manufacturing to 25 percent of India’s GDP by 2022 from 16 percent, and create more than 100 million jobs by 2020.

The LAC delegation was specifically encouraged to invest in the development of four new industrial corridors: the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Chennai Bangalore Industrial Corridor, Bengaluru-Mumbai Economic Corridor and Amristar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also called upon India and LAC countries to increase bilateral cooperation in poverty eradication efforts and educational exchange.

Faster Visa Issuance Procedures

Noting that bilateral trade between India and the LAC has increased considerably over the past decade, Khurshid called upon small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in both India and the LAC to increase cooperation and investment.

Khurshid insisted, however, that there was an immediate need to improve Indian consular services in the LAC and issue visas to LAC citizens faster in order to boost economic engagement between the two regions.

While two-way trade between the LAC and India increased to US$46 billion in 2012 from only US$2 billion in 2000, Khurshid stated that “the figure is not reflective of the true potential of our economic engagement. We need, and I take note of this, to improve on our consular services and faster issuance of visas and I think that remains the pre-requisite that we must address.”

“This region includes five of the world’s most bio-diverse countries – Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. India wishes to build a long lasting, enduring relationship with LAC,” he added.

By increasing cooperation and engagement between LAC and Indian SMEs, both sides agreed technology related to e-governance, tele-education, tele-medicine and mining could enhance economic growth potential.

A report issued late yesterday appears to indicate the delegation is already seeing early signs of success as Ecuador announced plans to invest US$70 billion into India by 2017.

The next LAC business delegation is expected to travel to New Delhi in September 2014 in order to continue strengthening political and economic relationships being forged this week.

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