New Delhi : "Don't give me excuses. India and Brazil can do more than $10 billion bilateral trade by 2010," Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva told Indian and Brazilian businessmen here Monday.
"No distance can diminish the appetite of a bold entrepreneur for trade. India today is a land of opportunity. So is Brazil," Lula said in a stirring speech at Hotel Taj Mahal here as he called for deepening strategic and economic partnership between India and Brazil.
"It's time to consolidate our strategic partnership. The 21st century will be the century of opportunity for India and Brazil," the Brazilian president, popularly known as Lula, said to resounding applause from the audience.
"We need to intensify trade and investment and try to increase the visibility of our products in each other's markets," said Lula, who began his three-day state visit to India Sunday.
"No distance can come in the way. We can exceed $10 billion trade target for 2010," he said while alluding to the common complaint by some Brazilian and Indian businessmen that it takes 19 hours to fly from Brazil to India and vice versa.
The audience gave Lula a standing ovation for his speech in which he spoke about robust business ties between the largest democracies in Asia and Latin America.
The interactive meeting was organised by the top business and trade bodies of India.
"India and Brazil are being recognised as key players in the international scene. Our interests converge in multilateral fora," he said.
Lula was referring to the crucial role India and Brazil are playing in the G-20 grouping for the successful resumption of the stalled Doha round of trade talks. This point was also underlined by Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma, who shared the dais with Lula.
Placing the burgeoning ties between India and Brazil in a global perspective, Lula said: "Relations between India and Brazil are beginning to realise their potential. We are two large democracies in developing world with many common interests."
Lula, the first Left-wing politician to become Brazil's president, also called for greater participation of private sector to multiply bilateral trade and investment between the two countries which have recently made it to the exclusive club of trillion-dollar economies.
Lula won a second four-year term as Brazil's president last year. The 62-year-old leader rose from abject poverty to win his country's highest official post for the first time in 2002.
Trade between India and Brazil has registered a quantum increase – from a mere $488 million in 2000 to $2.4 billion in 2006.