India, Brazil set trade of $10 bn by 2010


New Delhi : Brazil has emerged as India's largest trading partner in Latin America and the two sides have set a target of $10 billion in bilateral trade by 2010, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said here Monday.

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"Two-way trade between India and Brazil has registered a quantum increase – from a mere $488 million in 2000 to $2.4 billion in 2006," Kamal Nath told a business seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

"Both governments have now set a target of $10 billion by 2010," he told the seminar, coinciding with the visit of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with a large business delegation.

The commerce minister said a preferential trade agreement between India and the MERCOSUR, of which Brazil is a member, will come into force as soon as it is ratified by the legislatures of Brazil and Argentina.

Uruguay, Venezuela, and Paraguay are the other members of this Latin American grouping, while Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have the status of associate members.

"India and MERCOSUR have agreed to give tariff concessions, ranging from 10-100 percent to the other side on 450 and 452 tariff lines respectively," Kamal Nath said, adding the process has begun to expand the agreement's coverage.

"A trilateral arrangement between India, MERCOSUR and SACU (South Africa Customs Union) is also on to widen the scope of South-South cooperation," he said in the presence of his Brazilian counterpart Miguel Joao Jorge Filho.

Kamal Nath said India's investments in Brazil have also shot up in recent years, particularly in IT, biotech and pharmaceuticals, with the presence of companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories and Ranbaxy.

"Many others including other Tata companies are exploring the opportunities for investment in Brazil."

The commerce minister also held a bilateral meeting with Filho and interacted with the business delegation led by Armando Monteiro Neto, president of the National Confederation of Industry, and a member of the Chamber of Deputies in the lower house of the Brazilian parliament.