South American nation India and Chile have extensively examined the possibilities for enhancing trade and investment partnerships and have sought deeper cooperation in various other sectors, including defense.
During the VII Consultations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BOD) between the two countries held in Santiago on Tuesday night (September 14, 2021), “the full range of their bilateral relations, including space cooperation, energy, cooperation in Antarctica, agriculture, health and pharmaceuticals and all consular issues were evaluated, ”said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA).
While the Indian side was led by Ms. Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) and other senior officials, the Chilean side was led by Ms. Carolina Valdivia Torres, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Also discussed during the meeting was the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic and how the two countries could deepen their partnerships in the post-pandemic economic recovery.
According to a senior diplomat, “After COVID-19, this is the first meeting in person. Last year, the FOC consultations could not take place due to the global shutdown due to COVID-19. The focus of the talks was on renewable energy, lithium, solar energy, as well as building relationships in Science and Technology and StartUps. “
“In general we are trying to broaden our cooperation agenda in various sectors. Trade is important in our relationship and we look forward to our next round of negotiations for further expansion of the existing Preferential Trade Agreement next month, ”said the top diplomat quoted above.
According to the diplomat, the third round of technical negotiations will take place virtually from October 6 to 7, 2021. Due to COVID restrictions in the South American nation, the meeting cannot be face-to-face.
Investments and services to include?
The two parties have been negotiating the expansion of the current India-Chile PTA and in the next round of negotiations Chile is interested in including investments and services.
India and Chilean companies are trying to enter the service area as the current PTA only has goods.
India is negotiating with the South American nation for the second expansion of the existing PTA, which may help deepen and further expand the agreement. Both parties have exchanged their respective lists, as decided at the last meeting. Unfortunately, due to global pandemics, the talks were delayed. And now the two sides are in talks to further expand the PTA, as this will help improve commerce and give a boost to investment and other businesses. The South American country is also India’s fifth largest trading partner in the region.
As Financial Express Online previously reported, the two parties have already shared their wish lists and from the Chilean side around 2,000 tariff lines on goods have risen to around 5,000 tariff lines. And bilateral trade has reached $ 2.2 billion. Besides copper and molybdenum, which account for almost half of total exports to India, agricultural products including dried / fresh fruits, kiwis, blueberries, poultry and meat come from Chile.
Last March, the two countries signed an agreement to avoid double taxation and it has not yet been approved by the Chilean government before it can be applied. The two are also discussing a Bilateral Investment Protection Treaty.
Both countries celebrate 72 years of diplomatic relations and have explored new sectors to deepen bilateral relations. When it comes to trade in the LAC region, Chile is the only country that has a PTA with India that was signed in 2006 and expanded for the first time in 2017.