IANS | 19 October 2011
India, Brazil, South Africa to hold meet for enhancing trade
Pretoria : In a bid to enhance trade ties, India, Brazil and South Africa have decided to hold an annual meeting of trade ministers with New Delhi being the venue for the first such dialogue, the commerce ministry has said.
"Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma offered to host the first annual trilateral meeting in New Delhi in early March 2012. The dates are to be decided through diplomatic channels," the ministry said here in a statement late Tuesday.
Sharma is in Pretoria for the trilateral IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) Dialogue Forum.
Trade between the three countries has done well in the recent past including the year of the global financial crisis in 2008 and the recent economic slowdown because of debt crisis in the Euro zone.
The three nation’s trade is currently close to $20 billion, having surpassed the target of $15 billion set for 2012 three years prior to the deadline.
Among the three countries, India’s trade accounts for a majority of this trade.
"The Leaders at the IBSA Summit felt that the trends indicate that the target of $25 billion by 2015 will be achieved early, and this gave reasons to be optimistic and more ambitious," said the commerce ministry.
Trade ministers of the three countries also agreed to look at issues related to getting business visas and providing direct air connectivity to give a boost to tourism.
A working group on trade of the three countries has also been asked to examine ways of easing non-tariff barriers, improving maritime and air links and identifying opportunities for investments.
On the sidelines of the IBSA forum, India and South Africa also decided to enter into long term contracts for purchase of raw materials and commodities. The South African office of Indian public sector trading firm, MMTC has been mandated by Sharma to work on this proposal expeditiously.
Also on cards is a tripartite free trade agreement involving countries in Latin America, Africa and India.
"The decks are now clear for making progress on a trilateral FTA involving India, SACU and MERCOSUR," Sharma said.
MERCOSUR is a trading block in Latin America comprising Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. SACU stands for Southern African Customs Union, a trade promotion group, and its members include South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia.
"This FTA linking developing countries in the three continents is envisaged as one of the most ambitious free trade area and will be a symbol of growing south-south cooperation," he added.