April 2015: India and Latin America (LaTAm) have Paid Little Attention to Each Other

As the developed nations, particularly EU are in recession, India and LaTAm countries need to diversify its products for exports and expand its bases in new markets such as Latin America and India respectively.

In today’s multi-polar world, several key actors are engaged in defining their spheres of influences. The two main pillars in this game of evolving geo-politics are trade and security. While geo-politics is the driving force, geo-economics is being designed to be its base. A number of mega regional trade arrangements (RTAs) are being attempted to be floated by the main actors.

India sources over 20 percent of its energy needs from the region, which has a population of 600 million. Bilateral trade has been growing with Latin America, from $2 billion in 2000-01 to $47 billion in 2013-14. But India and LaTAm need to scale up its political interaction and that the political leadership should “start taking further notice”.

The EU has become more protectionist in trade, particularly with the developing world and as the negotiations in the WTO is in a deadlock, it has chosen to align itself with US in Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The TPP led by the US has 12 participating countries – Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The TPP is designed to scuttle the earlier proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with the centrality of ASEAN. The overlapping membership of TPP and RCEP shows that the move for TPP is an effort to scuttle RCEP.

Apart from addressing infrastructure problems, India and LaTAm should step up efforts to be part of the global value chain in a big way. Careful market strategy should be in place to promote exports of products in which both regions have competitive advantage.