Ecuador expresses interest in negotiating PTA with India

Source : Economic Times 26 May 2017

NEW DELHI: South American country Ecuador has expressed interest in negotiating a trade agreement with India to further boost commercial ties between the two nations.

The northwestern South American country wants to negotiate a preferential trade agreement (PTA), under which two trading partners reduce or eliminate customs duties on only certain number of products traded between them.

The matter was recently discussed during the meeting between Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia and Ecuador’s Vice Minister of Trade Humberto Jiménez. Teaotia led an official and a business delegation to Ecuador and Colombia from May 16 to 19.

“Ecuador conveyed its interest in initiating the process of negotiations for a PTA in order to strengthen the bilateral relationship for mutual benefit,” the commerce ministry said in a statement.

The bilateral trade with Ecuador stood at $716 million in 2015-16.

Both the sides also agreed to deepen the cooperation between their respective investment promotion agencies to promote a greater exchange of information on investment and business opportunities in both the countries.

In Colombia, the commerce secretary held a bilateral meeting with Francisco Echeverri Lara, Vice-Minister Multilateral Affairs Bogota.

The statement said that businesses of both the sides can explore opportunities in sectors like telecommunication, infrastructure, hydrocarbons, IT, pharma, textiles and auto.

“As Colombia is exploring to diversify its export basket, they have shown interest for cooperation in sectors of agriculture and food processing,” it added.

India’s bilateral trade with Colombia stood at USD 1.7 billion in 2015-16.

The secretary’s visit to these two South American countries assumes significance as it hold huge potential for exports and investments.

India has recently widened a PTA with Chile. It has also concluded a joint study on the feasibility of such a pact with Peru. Besides, New Delhi is aggressively engaged in the expansion of its PTA with MERCOSUR, a six-country trade bloc including Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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