The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), through its Executive Secretary, Alicia Bárcena, called on countries in the region to enhance the common ground and opportunities that they have with India on matters of trade, foreign investment and cooperation.
“According to figures from the last few years, the economic ties between India and the region have increased each year; notably, there was 140% growth in trade between 2009 and 2014,” she explained during the inauguration of the seventh edition of the India-LAC Conclave, which is being held in the Mexican city of Guadalajara.
The combined population of India and the region totals nearly 2 billion inhabitants. Historically, both have had average growth rates above those of developed countries (7% for India and 3% for Latin America and the Caribbean) and this creates interesting opportunities for investors. However, neither side should lose sight of the challenge of reducing the inequalities faced by their societies, the United Nations official said in a video message delivered in the meeting.
Upon presenting the study Strengthening the relationship between India and Latin America and the Caribbean, the Director of ECLAC’s Subregional Headquarters in Mexico, Hugo Beteta, explained that India and the region face major challenges in the social arena. In Latin America 28.2% of the population (168 million people) was living in poverty in 2014 and 11.8% (70 million) in indigence. In India the poverty figure has fallen significantly in recent years, although according to 2011 statistics, 59.2% lived on less than $2 dollars a day.
Beteta added that the markets of India and Latin America and the Caribbean are complementary in some ways in terms of the provision of business and remote knowledge services, manufactured and chemical products, renewable energy, the automotive and aerospace industries, and in strategic alliances in manufacturing.
India’s dynamism in the export sector is reflected in the fact that since the liberalization began in 1991, the country has multiplied its exports of goods and services by more than six times and expanded services by more than nine times.
As a recipient of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), in 2015 India became the ninth-largest global recipient with a total of $44.208 billion dollars, while Latin America received around $177 billion dollars.
V. K. Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs of the Indian government, participated in the inauguration and acknowledged the growing importance of the relationship between India and the region. He emphasized that “the time has come for deepening this relationship” and called on participants to work to fulfill the immense potential of these ties.