Mint | 8 February 2024
India-Peru trade talks to resume next week
by Dhirendra Kumar , Rhik Kundu
India will resume trade talks with Peru next week after a long gap hoping that a free trade agreement will conclude in the next few rounds of discussions. The trade talks generate more interest as India, one the largest importers of lithium batteries, eyes the large deposits of lithium in the South American country.
A delegation of over dozen members led by the commerce ministry’s joint secretary will lead the Indian side for bilateral talks with Peru from 12 February for a proposed trade agreement, two people aware of the matter told Mint.
This upcoming round of trade talks between both countries, which will be held in Lima, the capital of the South American nation, comes after representatives from governments of India and Peru had earlier participated in a special round of negotiations virtually last October.
The next round of dialogues will be held in India and New Delhi is hoping to conclude the FTA in the next few rounds.
Peru’s Gerardo Antonio Meza Grillo, director for Asia, Oceania and Africa, the ministry of foreign trade and tourism, will lead the talks from the South American side.
The upcoming talks are aimed at promoting bilateral trade and investments between the two countries, one of the above mentioned people said, requesting anonymity.
Both India and Peru, as trading partners, are looking to reduce or eliminate customs duties on a number of goods traded between them, besides easing norms to promote trade in services, the person added.
The upcoming negotiations will see discussions on rules of origin, trade in goods, customs procedures and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, general and security exceptions, cooperation and legal and institutional issues/dispute settlement, etc.
Discussions on services, movement of natural persons, trade remedies and investment chapter are also expected to be held between both sides.
A commerce ministry spokesperson didn’t respond to emailed queries.
Talks for the India-Peru trade agreement commenced in 2017, with the fifth round concluding in August 2019. However, talks between both sides were halted during the pandemic.
Besides lithium, Peru is also a major producer of lead, zinc, gold, copper, and silver. Interestingly, Peru is surrounded by the ’lithium triangle’ consisting of Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.
As things stand, India and Peru have been experiencing steady growth in bilateral trade. During FY23, bilateral trade volume between both countries hit $3.12 billion. India exported goods worth $865.91 million to Peru and imported goods valued at $2.25 billion from the country.
According to the latest data on the government’s Niryat portal, India’s total export value to Peru during the April-December 2023 period stood at $699.04 million.