Source: Business Standard, Jan 28, 2019
New Delhi: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday called for greater investment by Indian conglomerates in the Latin American country’s infrastructure, railways, mining and energy sectors.
Addressing senior captains of industry, Bolsonaro, along with senior minister’s from the Brazilian government pitched for more investments from India. Brazil’s economy is broadly expected to slowly regain health in 2020, with gross domestic product growth estimated at 2.3 per cent by the country’s central bank.
Winning on a populist plank to eradicate poverty and clean up corruption, Bolsanaro has pushed for large scale foreign investment to tap the country’s vast natural resources, especially in the Amazon rainforest in the scarcely populated hinterland. Indian companies have invested about $ 6 billion in the country, and has significant footprint in multiple sectors sectors.
This includes Information Technology giants such as Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services which has about 1400 employees. In the mining sector, Sterlite Power has won 10 power transmission projects across 11 Brazilian states totalling 29 transmission lines and 34 substations while Birla Carbon, the world’s largest carbon black producer, completed 60 years of operations in Brazil in October 2018.
Pharmaceutical, Energy, engineering and automobile production were also sectors central to Indian business interests, sources said. Policymakers said that among that bilateral pacts to boost cooperation in oil and natural gas and bio-energy, that were signed over the weekend is expected to see significant Indian businesses entering Brazil.
Bolsanaro met with 23 Indian business leaders from companies including those from Sterlite Power, Apollo Hospital, Oyo Rooms, Tech Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services, Zydus Cadila, and Transport Corporation of India Limited, among others.
New Delhi however expects to use the country as a springboard to spread its export to difficult to access Latin American markets. At the same event, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday suggested bilateral trade can reach up to $ 15 billion by 2022. Both nations are working to expand the India-MERCOSUR Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), of which both nations are part
Exports to the country have risen for the 3rd-straight year till 2018-19, hitting $ 3.8 billion. Imports however, reduced to $5.4 billion, decreasing by a Billion dollars in the same year.
Back in mid-July, India had asked Brazil to fast track negotiations on New Delhi’s PTA with the Latin American economic bloc which also includes Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Signed in 2004, the PTA is the only major way India accesses the continents vast consumer market.
Goyal also urged that the India – Brazil Business Leader’s Forum may be activated and reconstituted to make it more relevant and contemporary to businesses in both countries.
He also pushed for the opening of the Brazilian market to Indian services in wellness sector like Yoga and Ayurveda. Brazil has an association of Ayurveda (ABRA), with offices in 9 states and in 2018, held the third International Congress on Ayurveda which saw the participation of 4000 delegates. Goyal also pitched for creation of value chains between India and Brazil where goods may be semi assembled in one country and finished in another. Business relations between India and LAC are mainly by way of investments, as conventional trade in goods has challenges on account of distance, time zone difference and business culture.