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‘Chile is looking to include digital services as well in trade agreement with India’: Alex Wetzig

The Indian Express | 5 April 2023

‘Chile is looking to include digital services as well in trade agreement with India’: Alex Wetzig

Following the recent agreement between Chile and India for cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors, Chile is looking to expand its trade basket with India, Alex Wetzig, Secretary General, Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

In an interview with Aanchal Magazine and Anil Sasi, Wetzig said given the growing market of India, it is aiming for the trade agreement to include services also. Excerpts:

Q: There was a recent decision by India to promote agriculture with Chile. So what are the focus areas in your meetings during this visit?

A: We plan political consultations corresponding to India in Delhi during the year for a review of all the subjects in the potential use of bilateral relations.

Q: India-Chile trade has been stuck at roughly the same levels for a decade or so. Do you see that changing?

A: It is broadly stuck at a particular level and hasn’t really gone up… Currently we have an agreement on goods and of course, we want to improve our exchange adding services and investment. We call it the CEPA, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement… And, of course, India is a very interesting market because it’s growing, the number of potential consumers.

Q: You mentioned services, which specific services are being targeted?

A: It is not a specific service… but if we think we can profit from some services, especially in the digital area, from India, and services that could be useful for India in the Latin American region. We have free trade agreements with 64 economies in the world. So, primarily looking at service sector companies from Chile who can come here or from India to go. But of course we understand that the Indian companies are more powerful than our companies to go to our market, but we have some companies with possibilities to have a start here or to have more business with India. Mining for instance.

Q: There’s a lot of interest in India for lithium. There are multiple deals where India is striking with Australia. There’s been a recent deal on lithium. Is there anything concrete? Is there something that you’re putting on the table?

A: Not yet but we are installing an institutionality on lithium in creating a national policy for the future. I think it could be interesting for the company. We are creating an environment for business in the industry and there has been some interest from Indian companies in investing in the lithium value chain. We have some companies that are asking how the system is because we are creating a proper environment for the development of this industry knowing that we would like to add value to the process and not just export the salt…we know that there is a sense of urgency because of the high prices of lithium. We now have the window of opportunity, as you say that ecosystem, for helping companies to go in there.

 source: The Indian Express